Confidential charity, the Drug Advice Service & Helpline (DASH) has a new member of staff to compliment their services.
Wagg, an 11 year old Pets as Therapy (PAT) dog 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.
Director of DASH, Shelly Stanley said, ‘Drug and alcohol problems do not happen in isolation, it is generally one of a number of issues affecting an individual’s life and we wanted to provide more help and support for those using our service. There is solid evidence to support the healing properties of animals. They bring calm, reduce anxiety, 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 dog trainer said, ‘Wagg has always been a caring, perceptive dog and has worked as a PAT dog for approximatly 7 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.’
Liz said ‘Wagg is a very perceptive dog. If you are in a low mood she’ll come up and cuddle up to you. She’s always been a ‘people’ dog and particularly likes spending time with young people which is an area I know the staff at DASH want to see how she can help and develop her within the team.’
Shelly said, ‘It is entirely up to the individual if they want to have Wagg in on a session. This is a part of ongoing changes with the service and so far it is working well. Wagg also has her own Facebook page ‘Wagg working at DASH’ and has lots of followers already.’
‘Working in the community we want to make sure that users of DASH have access to the best care we can provide and I look forward to this new chapter of the service.’
For confidential Drug & Alcohol advice and support contact DASH on 615622 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Shelly Stanley MSc – Director of Services
DASH – PO Box 191, Douglas, IM99 1WR