Personal experiences with the healing power of dogs – Part 1

I recently attended a function, organised by my local veterinary practice, where there were various speakers but the subject was almost entirely DOGS. One speaker talked about training dogs in general, there was a display of dogs from a local dog training group and an informative talk by a representative of Guide Dogs for the Blind. As an out and out dog lover I was enthralled by all the speakers. Each display of dogs, working their little socks of in order to help humans was inspiring. Hearing Dogs for the deaf was something I knew a little about but to see a display was fascinating.

For me the highlight of the afternoon was a talk and display by P.A.T dogs, which stands for Pets As Therapy. This charity does have some cats as well, but the main contributors are dogs and their owners. I was so moved with what I saw and heard that I have been spreading the word about PAT dogs ever since.

So, I hear you ask, what’s it all about?

The charity takes dogs of a gentle, sweet natured temperament, onto their books. The owner pays a small annual subscription and receives a special PAT dogs T.Shirt along with the first years membership. After training, both the dog and the owner, visit various establishments. It could be to a hospital, a residential home, a children’s home or a retirement home. PAT dogs visit all sorts of places including Hospices. The amount of visits you undertake is up to you and your dog. Obviously you will have other demands on your time. However don’t you agree that it is a very worthwhile way to spend a few hours a week?.

Having always loved to own at least one dog ourselves, I cannot imagine having to live somewhere permanently, where pets are excluded. As an old person I would still love to see a sweet dog, and have the pleasure of petting him or her. For one of my dogs, in particular, this would be his idea of heaven. Just to go from one person to another and be loved. The speaker explained how the residents appreciated and loved the visiting dogs and owners . Some people would wait excitedly for their next visit. Any patients or residents, who are seriously ill, are apparently singled out by the dog for special care. The dog will go and sit, or lay, lovingly next to that person keeping watch. Patients recovering from having suffered a Stroke have benefited greatly from such visits and it has helped with their recovery.

If you feel that spreading a little happiness this way is for you, and your pet, consider joining. It will take some of your time but what joy you will both get and of course the joy your dog will give is incalculable.

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PAT dogs is available in many countries.

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