Harlow Women's Institute

Member of the Federation of Essex Women's Institutes
Charity Registration Number 228992

Thursday 11 October 2018

Canine October

The speaker at today's meeting, Helen Beard, brought her two Labradors along to assist with her talk entitled "Pets as Therapy".  The older dog, thirteen and a half and, like many of us, a little arthritic was happy to add a vocal chorus.  The younger one, Sapphire, who is only two and a half, was quieter and rather more timid.

Helen explained how dogs can assist in many situations by giving undemanding and uncritical affection, which can help people of all ages to relax and be less stressed and intimidated by the situations they find themselves in.  Pet dogs - and also pet cats and pet reptiles - are taken into care homes, hospital wards, schools, prisons, family courts, and many other situations where the surroundings and atmosphere might prove difficult for people.  Many people have owned animals during their lives and can relate and relax in the presence of one.  People suffering with mental health issues may well find that they can be more open with an unthreatening canine presence.  Of course, the animals have to be checked over to ensure that they are able to behave in a calm and controlled way, and not jump up at people.  Breed is less important than the nature of the dog.  There are various precautions taken to ensure that a visiting animal doesn't import any infection which could cause real problems to a vulnerable person.

This is Sapphire, wearing her Pets as Therapy identity tag, and waiting hopefully for a titbit.

It was a very interesting and inspiring talk, covering much information and food for thought.  Helen was warmly thanked by Joy Beaumont.

The competition was for a dog ornament or item and there were many entries - lots of ornaments and photographs.  Helen eventually chose as the winner a photograph belonging to Jean McGauran of her daughter's two dogs.