Service users and staff at Unity Centre in Wakefield were treated to a special visit from a furry friend recently – Pets as Therapy dog Miley.
Two year old Tibetan terrier Miley visited Walton, Stanley and Nostell wards and was more than happy to show smiling service users her party trick, a high-five – in exchange for some treats of course!
Service users and staff alike shared stories of their own beloved pets as they happily petted Miley’s fluffy fur. Miley, who is owned by befriending project and volunteer support co-ordinator Angie Barker, sniffed her way around the wards for around an hour before heading back to the office for some much-deserved rest.
Miley and Angie are preparing to launch the Trust’s canine befrienders project, which will see well-behaved dogs visiting wards, teams and events to boost wellbeing.
All dog befrienders will undergo a full temperament test by an approved dog behaviourist, and their handlers/owners will also need to pass an assessment for working with their dog.
Angie Barker said: “There is lots of evidence to show that spending time with animals can decrease stress, provide comfort and a distraction from upsetting experiences and symptoms, promote social interaction and reduce loneliness.
“Everyone on the wards loves it when Miley visits and she loves all the attention! We can’t wait to get started with the canine befrienders project as I know that so many people will really enjoy all the benefits that come with spending time with a dog.”