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Volunteers barking for work

Media release for immediate distribution

28/2/2014

Volunteers barking for work

It’s quite rare that highly skilled individuals looking to volunteer their time in the community are left short of tasks to do. Usually this type of worker is quickly snapped up. But when you have a very specific set of skills, and four legs, and a waggy tail it can be hard to get your paws in the door, so to speak.

This is the case for a team of registered therapy dogs who have recently moved to Hawkes Bay. The dogs owned by Eliz Mallory achieved their titles in the USA after logging considerable volunteer hours under their collars, and are just beginning their careers in New Zealand.

A therapy dog is trained to provide affection and comfort to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, hospices, disaster areas, as well as to people with learning difficulties. Mallory’s team can make a really positive difference to the lives of people within these types of organisations, and they are eager to start working with them.

“All of our dogs are either trained or are in training to be community volunteers as therapy dogs, assistance dogs, search and rescue dogs, or scent detection dogs,” explains Mallory.

You may have spotted the adorable Labrador Retrievers out and about working and training at the Hastings City Night Market, where they meet and greet new people, and help to spread the word about their work.

“While the dogs have been very well received at the Night Market and are really enjoying volunteering there, we are having a difficult time getting our foot in the door with local facilities where the dogs could help. It seems to be such an unheard of concept here,” says Mallory.

Hastings City Business Association Manager and Night Market Organiser Susan McDade says, “These dogs do a great job and are very popular at the Night Market particularly with the children. It would be great to see them out and about in the community helping people in need and doing what they’ve been trained for.”

For more information about how the dogs could assist within your organisation, or for a chance to meet the clever canines, come along and see them at the Hastings City Night Market on Thursday nights, visit the Lend a Paw Labs Facebook page, or contact Eliz on 021 026 20702.

ENDS

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