NEWS AND COMMENT-UK: This is a story about the forgiveness inherent in all dogs. Buddy, who looks like a cute little terrier, was used to get pit bulls into the mood for a fight and he was shot at repeatedly with an air rifle and had his tail cut off with a kitchen knife. That probably doesn’t sum up all the abuse that he suffered but it gives you a clear impression of what he has been through. Despite that horrendous episode in his life, he is now a welfare dog supporting traumatised police officers.
Seven years ago, Buddy was rescued by Chief Inspector Jayne Forrest. When they found him, he was in a very bad way with an infected tail, worms, ticks, and fleas. He was a fabulous host for ectoparasites and endoparasites. The South Yorkshire police force said: “He had also been shot with an air rifle so many times, the RSPCA didn’t think they could save him but Jayne decided she could”.
The police have a branch of the National Police Wellbeing service (Oscar Kilo), called OK9. It is a department which deals with tending to the mental health of police officers and staff.
And on their website, they state something which perhaps is known by the majority of people even those who do not enjoy the company of a dog or cat companion: “When a dog is introduced to the workplace, the atmosphere immediately changes and people want to interact with the dog. It helps naturally to lower cortisol levels and in doing so reduces feelings of stress and anxiety”.
When a dog is with a traumatised person, they often generate oxytocin, which is a hormone that engenders affection, a sense of security and trust.
South Yorkshire police have trained more than a dozen dogs like Buddy. They found that during a pilot scheme in which traumatised police officers went out for walks with dog handlers who were mental health first aiders and peer supporters, they were able to open up about topics that they were struggling with.
Welfare dogs like buddy are not confined to South Yorkshire police. Another Buddy works at West Yorkshire police. He is believed to be a border collie and he is also a bit of a celebrity having his own Facebook page with 744 followers at the moment and on Instagram page.
These dogs deserve to be social media celebrities. Source: The Times.
Below are some more pages on working dogs.