Chipping Barnet MP Theresa Villiers met the Therapy Dogs Nationwide charity in Westminster last week to learn more about the organisation’s work.
Therapy Dogs Nationwide (TDN) is volunteer-led and provides therapy dog sessions to places as diverse as schools, hospitals, prisons and nursing homes.
Theresa enjoyed meeting TDN volunteers and their dogs, including a whippet called Misty, to hear about the benefits therapy dogs can bring. The animals are selected for their temperament, and provide a calming influence and reassuring presence. For example, in schools, TDN hold ‘Paws and Read’ activities. They find that many children respond positively when they have a dog with them to keep them company during reading sessions.
“It was a pleasure to meet Misty the whippet and Mr Bojangles, the Parson Jack Russell, and hear from the volunteers who take their own dogs round schools, hospitals, care homes, and hospices,” said Theresa.
“This provides real comfort to many people. I am sure that my colleagues in Parliament would have felt that meeting these therapy dogs provided a period of welcome respite from a turbulent political situation.”
The benefits of Animal Assisted Therapies (AAT) have been extensively studied and the results range from improvement in general health and wellbeing, to increased confidence levels and improved communication skills.