Puzzle, is my 9-year-old Therapy Dog. She is a calm, empathic, gentle Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. She has not been especially trained to help vulnerable people, but over the years, I have found that she feels a deep empathy with my clients and is able somehow to support people who seem to be struggling by offering them “quiet companionship”.
By sitting calmly at their feet, or resting her head on their lap, she can quickly put people at ease and improve their ability to recount distressing experiences within their therapy session. It never ceases to amaze me how she will normally go to sit by/near or as close as she can get to my clients who are deeply distressed whilst sitting with me when my other clients are not so distraught.
Puzzle provides the companionship a lot of people want when they’re talking about difficulties they are facing and how they are feeling by providing unconditional support.
Often times, I will go for walks with my clients and Puzzle, my Therapy Dog, because I have found this to be particularly positive for clients who may have been struggling to do some form of exercise, or to get motivated to go out for walks. Walking amongst nature whilst listening to the birds; breathing in the country air, looking at all the beautiful flowers and trees is immensely therapeutic – instead of having therapy only within the therapy room.
So, if you’ve been through traumatic events and you’re talking about an uncomfortable trauma or a difficult period in your life, or if you are feeling particularly stressed, nervous or anxious, Puzzle is there to help you by providing the support to allow you to tell your story. Of course if people are nervous with dogs gradually she is allowed in the therapy room to help my clients overcome their phobia/fear.