We are very proud to announce that both Lola and Freddie have officially been recognised as Therapy Dogs.
We look forward to keeping the community updated on all the projects we do!
K9 at Scotch Oakburn
Pictures: Scott Gelston
Scotch Oakburn College had some students of the canine variety this week.
On Wednesday five dogs had a gradation of sorts, becoming certified therapy dogs following a course with renowned trainer Tessa Stow.
Based in Benalla Victoria, Ms Stow is a veterinary nurse, qualified counselor and a dog behaviourist who founded the facility dog training company K9.
Her mission is to help people who find themselves in the justice system, and she is currently campaigning to allow therapy dogs inside Australian courts to provide support to victims during testimonies.
Ms Stow said therapy dogs have become a common feature within schools, nursing homes and hospitals and that allowing them inside courts should be the next step.
“We have slowly been trying to get this in place for three years,” she said.
“When it comes to lowering people’s anxiety, the results speak for themselves.
“The justice system is a traumatising place where we are re-traumatising our victims.
“When a dog offers unconditional love and support it immediately starts to change how a person is feeling.”
"When a dog offers unconditional love and support it immediately starts to change how a person is feeling"
Ms Stow said K9 evolved from her own experiences working with a domestic violence agency and seeing firsthand the positive effects that dogs can have.
Visiting Tasmania for the first time, she said the response from the five dogs and their owners had been very positive.
Scotch Oakburn school psychologist and wellbeing coordinator Kylie Wolstencroft, said the collaboration with K9 grew from a student-directed inquiry into the benefits of therapy dogs in nursing homes.
Her own dog Beau, one of the five pooches who completed the therapy certification, is a regular visitor to Fred French Aged Care in Newstead.
“We reached out to Tessa and asked if she would be interested in coming to Launceston,” she said.
“We are very fortunate that our principal Andy Muller was supportive of this training.
“Just the act of patting a dog lowers anxiety and blood pressure very quickly.
“Beau is just a friendly face and when he walks into the room people faces light up.”
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Day 4 of therapy dog training with K9 Support.
We visited a nursing home for the first time today and had the chance to meet some of the residents. Our trainer was very proud.
We also spent more time testing out some of our new socialisation and self control skills in public - at pet shops near other “pet” dogs, at other cafes and around traffic.
Crossing paws we pass our big test tomorrow.
Love and licks from Lola and Freddie, the Rotaract Therapy Dogs. (In training)
Day three of therapy dog training and another very exhausting but interesting training session! We learnt more theory, then we went out and about and had to learn how to settle quickly and stay on our therapy mats at a cafe. We also visited the school assembly and had to sit very quietly for about 15 minutes with 300 eager children in the room. We also learnt about how to appropriately greet people in wheelchairs and how to be safe when signing in at receptions, as well as a lot more lessons of self control and self calming measures. We can’t wait to share more of our experiences with the community!
Another massive day for Freddie and Lola at therapy dog training with K9 Support. All four members of the Rotaract Therapy Dog Team are absolutely exhausted
The Rotaract Club is helping to sponsor three dogs in Launceston who are taking part in a therapy dog course. The five-day training is being run by Tessa from K9 Support who is a specialist from the mainland. Two of our Rotarators Holly (and Freddie) and Alissa (and Lola) are taking part. They will use their training around the community in nursing homes and schools. We also hope to offer corporate visits for a donation to the club. Stay tuned for more details over the next few days
Beau and Jordan
Pictures: Paul Scambler
After a year of research Scotch Oakburn College student Jordan Crack is almost ready to complete his self-directed study into animal assisted therapy.
The 18-year-old has been working with a dog named Beau and the school’s well-being coordinator and psychologist Kylie WolstenCroft, to put together a proposal to have the Irish Wolfhound cross visit the school regularly.
“The biggest thing I have learned about therapy animals is that there is no real structure to it, you look at a lot of different programs and they are all conducted differently,” Mr Crack said.
“They have all got their little nuances and their own way of doing things and it’s going to be a case of finding what works for Beau and what works for Scotch, in comparison to other schools and what works around the place.”
Mr Crack has met with the staff executive as part of his project and this week conducted a survey with all of the senior students.
“That will hopefully let me know what their thoughts are and if there is anything we need to change before we let Beau into the school for a day or two a week,” he said.
Several students have already been working with Beau at Fred French, the Masonic Care Tasmania aged care facility.
“We know how Beau works and how he works with Kylie and myself and the other students, so when we bring him [to the school] we already have that understanding and we don’t need to work that out as we go,” Mr Crack said.
The next step is to have have Beau formally trained and assessed.
“Unfortunately there is no accredited course or trainer in Tasmania but we have managed to secure the services of an interstate certified trainer who will come to Launceston to conduct a practical therapy dog training course,” Ms WolstenCrof said.
“This trainer has over 20 years experience in the dog industry including training, veterinary nursing, service dog training and obedience.”
As a registered psychologist Ms WolstenCroft knows then benefits of animals as a therapy.
RELATED:K9 Support – Professionally Trained Facility Dogs
“One of the earliest studies, published in 1980, found that heart attack patients who owned pets lived longer than those who didn't. Another early study found that patting a dog can help lower blood pressure,” she said.
“More recently, at the University of Missouri College Of Veterinary Medicine, studies have been focusing on the fact that interacting with animals can increase people's level of the hormone oxytocin which is a hormone that helps us feel happy and trusting.”
But to make the training possible Beau needs a few furry friends to come along.
“This training will be suitable for anyone wishing to volunteer in animal assisted interventions in Launceston and its local area [and] all breeds are welcome,” Ms WolstenCroft said.
To be part of the five-day therapy dog training class from October 21 to 25, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Article form : Holly Monery Examiner Newspaper