WDP - Scout, The Therapy Dog
This is the story of a little dog who had a tough start in life but fought through and now wins the hearts of everyone he meets with his compassion, gentle nature and joy of life and who has done so much to help so many people.
Scout is a whippet and was found on the streets of Durham as an abandoned puppy, blind and covered in mange. Totally defenceless, the first thought at the local dog rescue was to euthanise him. When Scout was inspected by vets his outlook was bleak. It was decided that if he was deaf as well as blind, they would put him to sleep. Miraculously, Scout responded to being called and this little dog was safe for now.
Unable to find a home in the North East, Scout travelled across country from Durham to Leicester and he ended up at East Midlands Dog Rescue. He soon came to the attention of local veterinary nurse, Tracey. Hearing about this funny looking blind whippet, Tracey couldn’t wait to meet him. She already had whippets of her own and loved the breed. When they met it was love at first sight. She knew it would be a challenge, she knew the whole family and her other dogs would have to help out and it was a big ask but everybody agreed, and Scout had found his new home.
He quickly settled in and became part of the family and he has always got on with the other dogs. These days Misty and Sparky help to look out for Scout, but when he first came home, it was Tracey’s dog, Izzy, who took Scout under her wing. She was like a Mum to Scout, protective and nurturing and she allowed him to grow in confidence.
Despite his lack of sight, Scout can map out any room he enters in just a few minutes. He remembers where everything is and is comfortable in new surroundings so quickly. He can go up and downstairs quickly and runs around in the garden. He really doesn’t let his disability stand in his way and his character shines through.
As Scout blossomed, his owners decided that they wanted to give something back to the charities and supporters who had helped through Scout’s early life. They started going to East Midlands Dog Rescue fundraising events. Scout was immediately popular. His odd looks and calm and cheerful manner were an instant hit with everybody.
When he was five years old he trained for his Pets As Therapy accreditation. This is a test of how dogs are with people, how they interact and how they connect. Dogs have to demonstrate calm walking behaviour, that they can cope with banging noises and take food from strangers. It is a tough test, even for a fully sighted dog.
Scout sailed through his assessment in 2016.
Shortly after this, Scout made his first visit to a dementia home. He is fantastic company and made an amazing, deep-rooted connection with everybody there, even those who were most disconnected. Tracey told us: ‘We remember one lady who really wasn’t interested in meeting the therapy dog but slowly her mood changed, and with Scout by her side she talked and talked and talked about her life’. Scout is instinctive and sits quietly with the patients who need it and is a bit more active with others.
Since then he has been on hospital visits where Scout does the ward rounds and is so popular with all the patients. He really makes such a difference. Further visits followed on behalf of MENCAP, various charities and a number of local memorial events. Whether he is keeping you company or calming an anxious visitor just by sitting with them, Scout seems to spread a little happiness wherever he goes.
To see this little dog with all his disabilities and troubles just enjoying his life and his work so much, it is truly humbling.
Scout’s story has not gone unnoticed. He has been written about, been on TV, radio and made a number of personal appearances. Everybody loves this little dog. He is a regular at Scruffts and has been a semi-finalist three times. He is in the running at the Sun hero dog awards 2018 and is the poster boy for a number of charities. His story is so inspiring there is even a book about his life and his experiences. It’s called For the Love of Scout and we’ve put a link for it at the bottom of this page.
What’s coming up for Scout? He has a busy diary and is in full demand. He is an IAMS ambassador for 2019 and featuring at Pup Aid. Tracey and Scout are giving their first Pets As Therapy talk later this year too.
It’s been an absolute privilege to meet this amazing dog.