Dear friends,

A little bit more than 2 years ago in Milan, you chose me as the President of this great organisation for a second term. Privilege that I have made my life and priority.

The past two years have been hard for our organisation. Internal and external forces have tried to destroy what we have built together for more than a hundred years. The work we have done together in benefit of pure-bred dogs around the world. Everywhere in the WORLD, from Peru to Egypt. From Vietnam to The Netherlands. From Norway to China.

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Rafael de Santiago
FCI President
Visiting dogs: the FCI is supporting several projects in residential care institutions in and around Thuin

Inspired by the project carried out in Thuin in 2014, Amélie Druez (a psychologist and educational coordinator) contacted the FCI to set up visiting dog projects in the institutions where she works (La Blanche Fontaine in Thuin, a residential service for adults, and L’Épi in Erquelinnes, a day reception centre for adults).

Very happy to collaborate in this type of initiative and to promote therapy dogs, the FCI responded enthusiastically, suggesting the participation of Christine Dufours (a professional in the fields of dog first aid and therapy dogs) and her Labradors Nic and Nac.

Several visits have already been made to these two institutions. We would like to share with you the testimonies of the different actors involved in this venture.


Amélie Druez, psychologist and educational coordinator at La Blanche Fontaine in Thuin,
a residential service for adults, and at L’Épi in Erquelinnes,
a day reception centre for adults

How did you find out about the FCI and the visiting dogs projects?
Word of mouth, through the people of Thuin who had heard of the Gai Séjour initiative (Editor’s note: the FCI has recently arranged such visits to Gai Séjour, a rest and care home in Thuin).

What are your expectations regarding these visits?
Giving our beneficiaries a moment of tenderness and affection, as some of them miss this very much due to the absence or distance of their families.

Which particular groups do you receive at your institutions, and how do you think they can benefit from these visits?
We receive adults of all ages who have slight, moderate or severe intellectual disabilities, sometimes associated with other problems such as autism or mental illness. I hope that these moments can bring them a sense of relaxation and well-being, a few moments of happiness.

There have already been a number of visits; in your professional opinion as a psychologist, can you tell us what you have learned from the experience, what the staff think about it, and what feedback has been given by those who have benefited from the visits?
The smiles on their faces! And the team noticed this also... whatever the disability, even the most serious. They all showed a lot of interest and attention, each in their own way: by look, a gentle touch, stroking, brushing, and even hugs. They want more!


Julie Dujardin, Educator at l’Épi in Erquelinnes,
a day reception centre for adults

We had extremely positive feedback from the participants at the first session. They were very attentive and engaged. But they were also respectful of the animal. They remained calm and applied the instructions given beforehand. They are eagerly awaiting the next visit. For myself, I was delighted to take part in this project and see the satisfaction and well-being it brought to our beneficiaries. Some of them love animals, but have never had the chance to get close to one. The contact with the animal is therapeutic. It is a most pleasurable break from our heavy schedule at l’Epi. A moment of bonding with the animal, being able to look at it, touch it, stroke it, and then go for a walk.


  • Christine Dufours, who brings the dogs to us!
  • These meetings and visits are interesting and rewarding.
  • Seeing the enthusiasm, smiles and joy of the residents when they see us arrive gives us real pleasure as well.
  • The dogs are not afraid and “play the game” by approaching the people and asking for strokes and cuddles. The dogs are calm and gentle, as if they understand that these individuals need more care and attention.
  • As soon as the dogs arrive, the barriers disappear and communication begins... whether it’s verbal or physical (stroking the dog or playing with it).
  • For me, this is not a job, quite the opposite: I look forward so much to each session, as it is a genuine pleasure for me to see the beneficiaries of our visits come out of their shells on contact with my dogs - it makes you feel you have achieved something.

If you would like to start a similar initiative, please contact us ( ). There are so many great things to share with our wonderful four-legged friends!

Marie Luna Durán
FCI Marketing and Public Relations Manager



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