Our dog's welfare is number one...

Our dogs are everything at PAWS. They are our friends, our colleagues, a shoulder to cry on and a warm body to snuggle up to. We love them and they love us. What an honour it is to share these wonderful beings with so many others.

How proud are we when we see them bring smiles to faces of people unwell and unsure of their future? When we witness a new sense of confidence in children? When we see a wonderful friendship develop with those who are lonely?

PAWS dogs are true professionals. They know they have an important job to do and they pride themselves in doing it well. When the PAWS vest appears, they are excited – knowing they will bring joy and love to so many special people during their visit.

PAWS dogs DO love their work, but we never underestimate the effect it can have on them. They start their day with a wash, a clip as needed and a brush, then on goes the PAWS vest, collar and lead. A trip in the car to an unknown destination, meeting many new faces in an unfamiliar environment, with a range of smells and noises.

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But then the fun starts……meeting people….up and down on beds, wheelchairs and chairs, being patted, cuddled, cried on and read to. Our dogs take it all in their stride, but we are always there to support them, to advocate for them and to protect them. They give so much of themselves, and take on so much – the emotions, fears, anxieties and moods of the people they meet – patients, their families and staff.

So we need to protect our dogs and keep them fresh and happy in their work. The PAWS course teaches us all to listen to our dogs, to be guided by their amazing intuition, and to respect and support them in their workplace. Being aware of our dog’s energy levels, of their likes and dislikes, physical limitations and special skills, ensures we support our dogs to deliver the highest level of professional service, while keeping everyone safe.

Understanding the causes, symptoms and prevention of stress and fatigue in therapy dogs underpins the entire PAWS course, and ensures these wonderful 4-legged therapists thrive in their work, enjoy their special moments and are recognised and rewarded for the profound difference they make.

To all our PAWS dogs

Thank you X