Next up in the Dog Stories 2020 series in collaboration with PAAW House, we have a story from an exceptional little London dog, Doug the Pug Therapy Dog who spreads joy and happiness wherever he goes.
Ten years ago, Doug started life as an unofficial therapy dog when he arrived in his family home to care for a much-loved family member who was chronically ill for many years.
And Doug did just that, providing comfort and companionship to reduce the feelings of loneliness and isolation that often come with long term illness.
After his family member recovered, Doug still had so much love to share, so it was a natural step for Doug to become part of the UK charity Pets As Therapy alongside his human Cate Archer.
To become a Therapy Dog, dogs need to pass several temperament and behavioural assessments which Doug did with flying colours. Doug demonstrated that he wouldn’t react negatively to any sounds, actions or behaviours coming his way and would be receptive to the attention he’d receive in return. So, in short, the perfect Therapy Dog.
Dogs have destinies too, and it seems being a Therapy Dog is Doug’s calling. Since 2011, Doug has been supporting many children and adults living with physical and learning differences as well as emotional and mental health challenges. And there is no doubt that Doug makes an impact on their lives with every interaction.
In fact, Doug the Pug Therapy Dog was awarded “Most Heroic Hound” for his voluntary work supporting positive mental health and emotional well being.
Doug often works with young people who have lost their way or their love of learning, offering warmth and comfort when it’s most needed. Doug’s human Cate said…
“Helping people to develop a respect and value for their own life, as well as that of others, is crucial to forming and sustaining good physical health. Friends can then become more confident and able throughout life and feel significant members of society.”
We couldn’t agree more.
Before helping Doug with his Therapy Dog work, Cate taught literacy and numeracy to children with learning differences and worked on a positive behaviour programme with those on the autistic spectrum. This gives Cate a unique insight into this world and the difference a visit from Doug can make to his little friends.
Cate and Doug have also written a book together “Doug the Pug – A Working Dog’s Tale“. This is a book for children and anyone interested in the beautiful relationship we have with our companion animals. The tale highlights the joys of the human-animal bond, based on Doug’s life as a working Therapy Dog. And of course, Doug wouldn’t miss the opportunity to spread more happiness around, so Pets As Therapy receive all royalties from Doug’s book.
We can all learn lessons from our dogs, even if it’s just to be present and enjoy each moment we have together in our busy, fast-paced world.
Some final words from Cate…
“Doug encourages us to be happy with who and what we are, genuinely celebrate each individual’s differences, and recognise that we all have something quite wonderful to offer. Doug shows no judgement and holds no stigma. He only sees what truly matters. Our dogs are an example to us all.“
Thanks for sharing your story Doug and for all the amazing work you do!
Keep up with Doug the Pug Therapy Dog on Instagram.
Share Your Story
Doug’s story is part of the ‘Human-Animal Bond/Emotional Support’ category. Do you have a story you would like to share in one of the four categories in the series?