Just before the festive break began we were honoured to have Therapy Dogs Nationwide volunteers Jackie and Keith, bring their two rough collies Merryn & Orla to our Bromsgrove practice for our very own Therapy Dog session.
The session took place in our meeting room for two & a half hours and our vets, nurses and customer care advisors were able to drop in when they wanted, to take some time out and interact with the dogs, and chat to Jackie and Keith about the volunteer work they do.
We were keen for our team to experience this as spending time with therapy dogs is a different type of interaction with pets to those they have when providing day-to-day healthcare and life-saving treatment.
Sarah from Big Splash Communications (above), who joined us to take a few photos, also had a great time with Merryn & Orla, who have very different personalities – Merryn (above left) is very calm and relaxed, and Orla is more energetic and loves to play, as our Marketing Manager Amy discovered (below)
Therapy Dogs Nationwide is one of our two chosen charities of the year, alongside Medical Detection Dogs. Husband & wife team Jackie & Keith regularly visit Chadsgrove School in Bromsgrove and Holywell Primary School in Rubery with Merryn, who was professionally assessed by the nationwide charity before becoming a fully fledged therapy dog.
From the Therapy Dogs Nationwide website:
The benefits of Animal Assisted Therapies (AAT) have been extensively studied and the results range from improvement in general health and wellbeing to increased confidence levels, improved and controlled movement to improved communication skills.
Volunteers and Therapy Dogs work with a wide group of people within the community. Our work in residential care homes had improved communication in residents and patients by evoking memories and stimulating conversation.
Therapy Dogs Nationwide dogs have also shown to help with special needs and autistic children and adults by giving focus and providing a calming environment.
Jackie & Keith generally only take Merryn for school visits but as an end of term treat for the children they took Orla as well, and the children all had a turn playing with her and her toys. Orla, who has also completed her Therapy Dog Assessment, absolutely delighted the children as she is so playful and constantly takes her toys to different children.
Volunteers Jackie & Keith have also recently been on a return visit to Birmingham City University where they get involved with Wellbeing events for the students, this last time supporting their mental health awareness initiative for the new students.
The duo are seeing an increase in the number of requests from workplaces asking for one-off visits from Therapy Dogs to help support their employees. If you think a visit from Therapy Dogs Nationwide volunteers and their dogs would be of benefit to your place of work, education or community group, you can get in touch with the charity here: http://www.tdn.org.uk/contact-therapy-dogs-nationwide/
Main photo: L to R – Keith, Orla, Andre (Vet), Merryn & Jackie