Your BIG Questions Answered
All About Doggies for Dementia Foundation
Greetings our loyal Doggies for Dementia Foundation Blog Readers! I am Carmen Davailus and founder of Doggies for Dementia Foundation. I am a frequent guest on podcasts, and I LOVE talking about Doggies for Dementia! There are some questions I hear often and thought I would devote a blog to this. You might be surprised!
- I plan a “reveal” a week or two after the initial session in order to show families their photos. I also create a video slideshow with clips and photos. I also photograph and video this reveal because the emotion is so palpable. I get very big, tight hugs and tears of both sorrow and joy. I’ve attended a good number of memorials and funerals, and people I never met come up to me to thank me for giving the family such beautiful gifts and experiences. When I photographed book participants for Just See Me, families didn’t really want the photos taken, but they did it for me. Each one told me just how much they meant to them. One wife kept the photos (packaged as a gift) and didn’t look at them until Christmas because she wanted to imagine it was a gift from her husband who was at the later stage of dementia. The photos mean more than even I imagined.
- What kind of feedback do you get from the public, when they see images of people with dementia with their loved ones/furry friends, in a society that tends to focus on the decline of people with dementia, and not their whole personalities?
- 1. First of all, when I speak publicly and share the stories and images, there are always some people who cry really hard. At first I thought perhaps the material was too emotional, however most always they approach me and what I hear is some version of the following: “My mother, father, husband….died and I never thought to take photos. I wish I had known about you or even thought to take photos. I thought it would be in poor taste, andI really regret it now.”
- 2. They understand the images are taken with compassion, kindness and love. In general, I receive very positive feedback on social media. Most tend to write private messages and thank me for doing this work and for how we do it almost always telling me how their lives have been impacted by dementia. They LOVE seeing the dog interaction and then go a bit further into the stories to learn more.
- 3. Some write to tell me they knew very little about it, and when they were faced with it themselves, they felt a bit more knowledgeable.
- 4. Additionally, I hear how much they love knowing their loved one and their stories can help others. They get a chance to create a legacy they never thought of before.
- If someone wants to get a photo session for free, what do they need to know? What areas do you serve? Yes, we gift the full photo session (s) and a generous package of images and video slideshow. Above all, the experience is beyond description and available to any family impacted by dementia and want to include a familiar dog whenever possible. Families agree with the mission to raise awareness and know and agree that we want the images and/or videos to go viral. We understand families may want to remain private, and sessions are offered for a fee through my for-profit business, Carmen’s Legacy Productions.
- We serve the central TX area right now, and plan to include other photographers across the country and internationally. We also plan to take Doggies for Dementia on the road in 2021 and visit others parts of the US.
- 1. I attended a rally and visited with families who had loved ones in long term care (LTC) in lockdown. Their stories are important and we wanted to let the world know about their journey. These stories were more heartbreaking than most of our stories. We blogged, posted photos and posts, and interviewed for our YouTube program.
- 2. We also have a YouTube program called Experts Dig in with Doggies for Dementia and interviewed over 40 experts in the field of dementia-from professionals to families and all in between. Our audience is primarily family caregivers and anyone interested in learning more about dementia care.
- 3. We also kept our social media and blogs going strong with caregiver tips and family stories. We have been a 501c3 nonprofit for about a year, and we worked hard to get the word out about what we do and why it is so important. I have also been a guest on a variety of national and international podcasts, Facebook and YouTube Live programs and magazine articles talking about our program, what it’s like to start a new career at 60 and also to share the families’ stories. Our Board of Directors, also known as our Executive Growth Team and I have worked hard to be ready for when things open and also to recognize the huge challenges facing families during the lockdown.
What Inspires Us Every Day?
How A Little Behind the Scenes about the Creation of Doggies for Dementia
How Can You Support Us?
See Part 2!