WDP - Rich who has two jobs!
Debbie has always worked with dogs. She trained Guide Dogs for the Blind for 12 years and also spent five years at a charity training German Shepherds as guide dogs too.
Now she works at the kennels that belong to one of the UK’s premiere Great Dane breeders and Debbie felt that she still wanted to work with a dog and give something back to the community. When a new litter appeared, she spotted Rich and decided that she was going to be the dog to help her do that.
Great Danes really are the gentle giants of the dog world, so easy going with a lovely temperament. Debbie knew from the beginning that she wanted Rich to qualify for therapy dog status as she, like most Great Danes, is calm and gentle and loves to be fussed – the ideal therapy dog! So right from the start, Rich had plenty of experience socialising and getting out and about.
Debbie applied to Therapy Dogs Nationwide and Rich was assessed as soon as she was old enough. She needed to have a calm temperament, no scavenging for food, no attention seeking, good manners, and a quiet confidence. She also had to cope with loud noises and distractions without getting over excited. Rich passed straight away.
Debbie has attended an assessor’s course and is also now an assessor for the charity.
Rich and Debbie work together in the community and offer care in two dementia homes and they combine this with hospital visits too. Their visits last about an hour. Rich loves her work and as soon as she puts her uniform on you can see how excited she gets.
Rich’s job is to visit the patients and just be loved. She gets the folks inside talking and reminiscing and stroking her and just acting in a natural way, allowing people to communicate more than they are usually able to, which is an amazing thing to do. She also interacts with the families and this helps them to have something to focus on and talk about while they are visiting.
Recently, Rich was one of a selected group of therapy dogs that visited the houses of Parliament for an anti-stress day trip to Parliament. It was very well attended by MPs and they all said that the therapy dogs brought Parliament to life. The dogs were thanked for the work that they do and many commented that they have never seen so many MPs smiling and sparkling so the therapy was definitely working. Rich has also attended anti-stress visits with the special ops unit of the police and also universities at exam times.
Rich also has an amazing SECOND job. She gives blood to the Pet Blood Bank.
Launched in 2007, Pet Blood Bank UK is the first and only charity of its kind that provides a canine blood bank service for veterinary practitioners across the UK. Just like the human blood service, Pet Blood Bank UK collects from willing doggy donors at organised collection sessions nationwide. Then when it is needed by veterinary practices, it is biked from their storage facility and delivered quickly. Every unit of blood collected can help save up to four dogs, saving thousands of lives every year. Rich donates her blood twice a year.
The blood is taken from the jugular vein, using gravity, so Rich has to be lifted onto a table. It actually takes four people to lift her up there, then she lies on her side. She is not sedated for the procedure. Even after all of this, her heart rate shows that she is still calm. It takes about 8 minutes to complete and Rich lays there almost falling asleep! Before and throughout the procedure her health and heart rate are carefully monitored as the health and welfare of the dogs that take part is paramount!
Interestingly dogs only have two blood types positive and negative. Negative is quite rare, and Rich has negative blood, so her donations are all the more important.
It’s amazing and important work and more dogs are always needed. If you want to know more details, the link to this charity and Therapy Dogs Nationwide is below.
Thank you so much, Rich, for all the great work that you do!