The Drug Advice Service and Helpline (DASH) has a new four-legged helper.
Wagg is an 11-year-old Pets as Therapy (PAT) dog, which has joined the service for one day a week to bring the benefit of animal-assisted therapy to those addressing their drug use or to family members affected by related issues.
DASH director Shelley Stanley said: ‘There is solid evidence to support the healing properties of animals. They bring calm, reduce anxiety and blood pressure, and respond well to those troubled or upset.
‘We had a trial period of allowing people to bring their own pets to appointments which worked really well, particularly for those who hadn’t used the service before and would have been quite nervous. Animals break down barriers and help build relationships and they also teach us a lot too. From there we were kindly offered the services of Wagg, who is experienced and fully trained.’
Liz Ward, Wagg’s owner and trainer, said, ‘Wagg has always been a caring, perceptive dog and has worked as a PAT dog for approximatly seven years.
‘She’s been to Hospice, Rebecca House and retirement homes as well as many others, but this is her first placement in a service and she’s settled in straight away. She’s a natural.’
For confidential drug and alcohol advice and support contact DASH on 615622 or email@example.com