VIDEO: Dog therapy session at Eastbourne's Embrace

Children at Embrace were delighted to be paid a visit by some cuddly canines.

Monday, 4th June 2018, 5:57 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 10:36 am
Gracie the golden retriever with Rose
Gracie the golden retriever with Rose

The very good dogs - eight year-old golden retriever Gracie, and 10-year-old labrador Hardy - took part in a chilled-out therapy session at the charity's headquarters in The Old Print Works.

They are 'the two most laid-back dogs in all of Eastbourne' - according to Gracie's owner Karollyn Gould, who volunteers with Pets as Therapy.

While Sally Attfield, who volunteers alongside her loyal companion Hardy at Eastbourne-based charity Canine Concern, has been doing this for seven years.

Gracie the golden retriever with Rose

She said, "I had been doing volunteering at a hospice and I thought it would be a good thing to do.

"They proved to be really great. We started off going to care homes.

"Then one day we went to a scout camp with 900 children and the dogs suddenly became really alive and interacted so differently, so we decided we have got the time, we can go to schools.

"It's lovely to see the difference they make. We trust the dogs, they are very safe.

Hardy the labrador chilling out with children and family at Embrace East Sussex

"We were at an Eastbourne school for our first visit with special needs children.

"The teachers said 'what a lovely atmosphere, it's so calming'.

"One child said 'it's the best day of my life'. It was so moving.

"We go to stroke patients, or people with dementia. Sometimes it brings back the memories, it's really therapeutic.

"The dogs seem to know how they should be, how they should behave in different situations."

While Leanna Forse, of Embrace, explained why the fortnightly sessions are so important for the children who go there.

She said, "The dog therapy sessions are so good for children, both with special educational needs and disabilities, and those without as well.

"They're very relaxing, the children come in and they get a chance to sit there and stroke the dogs.

"And there are children here who I don't see in a relaxed space until they're sitting in there with the dogs in front of them, it's really really lovely."

To find out more about Embrace, click here.

And to find out more about Canine Concern or Pets as Therapy, click here or here.