Mr. Dumble the therapy dog is a regular visitor at our rehabilitation ward, Cypress Hospital, where he provides support to people experiencing complex mental health issues. We recently had the opportunity to speak with Jacki, Mr. Dumble’s handler, about the benefits of therapy dogs and the importance of their work.
What’s the difference between service dog and therapy dog?
Jacki: Service dogs are trained in specific areas to perform tasks to aid someone cope with disabilities. Therapy dogs support people by providing attention and comfort towards individuals.
What people can benefit from a therapy dog?
Jacki: Anyone can benefit from a therapy dog, especially people who might suffer with mental health issues. They can help reduce stress and anxiety, relieve pain and help people with social situations.
What are the benefits of bringing therapy dogs to people?
Jacki: I think it’s incredibly important. Mr. Dumble brightens up the room. The amount of people that say once they spend some time him, they’re now going to have a good day is amazing! There was a lady who didn’t engage with anyone for ages and over the weeks of Mr. Dumble visiting she would make a point to come and see the dog. He really makes a difference in people’s lives, that’s why we do this. He also benefits from these experiences too.
What makes Mr. Dumble good at his job?
Jacki: I think he is quite a unique pet as a therapy dog, he doesn’t just stand and allows people to stroke him. His personality, character and fun make him the perfect companion.
He can differentiate between someone that wants to actively engage with him and receive cuddles and play and someone who might want to just lie there with him.
The emotion and conversation he manages to bring out of people is amazing. People feel comfortable talking through the therapy dog.
His size and fur make him the perfect therapy dog, he puts his weight on you like a comfort blanket and helps with deep pressure the body is experiencing.
We are grateful to Jacki and Mr. Dumble for their work at Cypress Hospital. Therapy dogs like Mr. Dumble play an important role in supporting people with mental health and wellbeing issues.
Find out more about therapy animals at Pets at Therapy.