Volunteer Rex helps Art Makers relax
Rex and Carol are regular visitors to our Arts & Crafts Centre in Knaresborough where they spend time with the Art Makers in their workshops. Rex is a Pets as Therapy (PAT) dog who, along with his owner and registered volunteer Carol, provides comfort and support to some of the disabled people using the services at the Arts & Crafts Centre.
Getting involved to help others
Carol explains: “I worked for many years as a childminder and would often come to the Centre with the children I looked after. Growing up with a father with a visual impairment meant I spent many hours as a child in a very similar setting so I feel very much at home here and around the disabled Art Makers that come here.
Rex is a 5 year old cockapoo and has been with me since he was a puppy. He is such a gentle, calm and loving dog and has always been around lots of people as we have a big family and of course the children who I cared for. He has done dog training at Knaresborough House and is now attending a dog agility course – we both enjoy keeping busy.
I was keen to find something that both he and I could be involved in that might help others.”
Rex becomes a PAT dog
A quick internet search and Carol found Pets as Therapy – a national charity that provides dogs with registered volunteers to hospitals, hospices, residential care homes, day centres, special needs schools and many other establishments, providing comfort, companionship and therapy. It sounded ideal and she started the process to get Rex registered as a PAT dog.
“Rex and I visit most weeks for about an hour – Rex stays on his lead the whole time and we check that all the Art Makers are happy for us to come into their workshop. They all adore him – even some who are scared of other dogs feel comfortable around Rex when he’s with me. I love to see the smiles on the Art Makers faces when they interact with Rex. I can also see that Rex enjoys his time here – his tail wags a lot so I know he’s happy!”
“Rex and I have made many friends at Henshaws who love to spend time with him talking and patting him. He is very fluffy and soft to touch which is key for the Art Makers who have a visual impairment and both they and Rex love it.”
Visiting the Art Makers
Rex and Art Maker Dolly clearly have a great relationship. Dolly is visually impaired and will often sit down on the floor with Rex to tickle and stroke him – she likes how his fur feels.
Dolly said: “I like Rex visiting because he relaxes me and cheers me up. He takes my mind off certain things and helps me to stop worrying. I do miss him when he doesn’t come.”
Art Maker Jess is another fan. Jess calmly interacts with Rex – he gives her his paw to hold and Jess asks Carol if she can give him a doggy treat. Carol finds one in her pocket for Jess to give to Rex.
“I like seeing him – when he is happy he wags his tail. I have pet budgies but can’t have a dog where I live so it’s nice to have Rex come to visit. I feel safe with him because I know Carol and Rex and trust them.”
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Henshaws rely on voluntary donations; our work just wouldn’t be possible without people like you. Your support empowers local people living with sight loss and a range of other disabilities to increase their independence, achieve their dreams, and go beyond expectations.