A short story from our Link Magazine.

Bonnie By Elaine Tolliday

As a health care professional, I have becoming increasingly interested in equine and canine trauma support. When I had the good fortune to adopt Bonnie ; a 9 year old black lab, I realised early on that she had something special.
She is gentle and patient, and has this amazing ability to help humans feel calm. I started to take her to work, and watched her sit quietly next to colleagues whilst they talked. She seemed to love the fuss, and never tired of seeing people. I therefore decided to apply to Pets as Therapy. After an application to make sure all was in order for me (references, DBS etc) Bonnie had her assessment.
Our assessor marked her on how
she interacted with people and other dogs, how she walked on and off a lead, how she responded to being stroked, poked and groomed. Treats were offered, and expected to be taken gently ( the biggest challenge for a lab), she had to walk past noise, banging bin lids and wait patiently whilst I chatted. She passed with flying colours!
After uploading all her vaccinations and completing all the paperwork we excitedly awaited our approval. So far, she has been to a few support sessions I have run with healthcare colleagues, and visited the young people at SENSE, an education environment for young adults with multi sensory disorders, and complex needs. There was much excitement, and lots of smiles as she sat quietly next to the young people in wheelchairs, and laid on the floor with a young man. She coped brilliantly with being stroked, and the noise of the young people. The nurses and Doctors love seeing her. They talk about the stresses of work and feel calm and relaxed when with her. One of the team, said “she has a calmness about her which radiates to all of us”.
She certainly has a special quality and a gift.