A Pedigree Chum

A Pedigree Chum

Irish Therapy Dogs (ITD) are a charity who arrange for dogs and their owners to visit people in hospitals, residential homes, hospices and care centres in the 26 counties.

The dogs spend time with people who are in a health crisis, who don’t have many visitors or who may be overwhelmed with rehabilitation after a stroke or accident. Therapy dogs come with their owner on a pre-arranged day every week and residents build a relationship with the dog. Some will save a treat or some will be encouraged to take him for a short walk as part of their rehab. Every resident receives unconditional love from their time-share dog. Staff and residents have been surveyed by ITD and they all noticed a significant lift in the mood of everyone on the day the dog is due to visit. It helps with depression, with co-ordination for stroke victim or with speech development.

Brenda Rickard, Chief Executive of Irish Therapy Dogs told me some success stories. ‘One man had been in residential care for 2 years and had not spoken to anyone until our volunteer approached him with the dog and asked if it was okay to come closer. The man put his hand on the back of the dog and because of his stroke he had limited movement, so the volunteer guided his hand as he patted the dog. Later as the volunteer was leaving the man started to speak and slowly and laboriously said his first word in two years – ‘dog’.

Contact Brenda on 01-2189302 or email info@irishtherapydogs.ie.

By Joan Mitchell