How labradoodle will help kids in stressful situations
HE'S a little, black Australian labradoodle just six and a half weeks old, but in a few short months he could be helping young victims of sexual, physical, or emotional abuse speak out in court.
He doesn't have a name yet. but the young pup is the second therapy dog to be trained through a partnership with Toowoomba child safety advocacy group Hope for Our Children and local breeder Wisteria Labradoodles.
Wisteria Labradoodles owner Kate Wolverton said the partnership came about after HFOC founder Nadine Wright gave a talk at her church three years ago.
"So I just went up to her afterwards and said 'I think I can help you'," Mrs Wolverton said.
The young pup's mum Hope was the first therapy dog to work with Hope for Our Children, and has worked in childcare centres and hospitals and the like, offering support to children.
Now her young offspring is about to take part in an exciting new program.
Mrs Wright said once he had the basics down-pat, HFOC would be able to start using him as a therapy dog, even while his training was ongoing.
"I'm trying to talk to Toowoomba Police to see if they can use the dog when a child has to do reporting or an interview, and then the Toowoomba Courts, I'm really hoping he'll be in the courts," she said.
"That plan is in process.
"When kids have to give evidence of sexual, physical, emotional abuse, often the trauma makes them lose a lot of their memories.
"Having the dog there helps bring them down and calm down."
Mrs Wolverton said therapy dogs were used for all kinds of different purposes and had different traits.
"So in this case it's really important that the dog is able to maintain a calm demeanour at all times, even under highly vocal and stressful circumstances," she said.
In the meantime, the young pup needs a name - which is where you can help.
People can head here to suggest a name for the therapy dog.
People should suggest a name and a short explanation as to its significance or meaning.
The person who suggests the winning name will win a photo shoot with the pup.