Lilliesleaf resident Marion Livingston, named as Therapet Organiser of the Year 2015, is credited with revitalising the service in the Borders.
Marion joined Therapet as a volunteer in 2009 with her whippet, Benji. In 2013, she became area representative for Canine Concern Scotland Trust (which runs the Therapet service), since when she has - in the words of Canine Concern Scotland Trust’s chairman, George Leslie - “revitalised the Therapet Service in the Borders”,”steadily building up a team of more than 30 volunteers who between them visit nearly 50 different venues from Eyemouth to Carlisle and West Linton to Jedburgh, as well as making occasional home and schools visits.
Many people are now aware of the huge benefits of pet therapy in situations as diverse as nursing homes to schools and prisons to dementia units.
Stroking or holding a dog or cat can slow down a person’s heartbeat making heart attacks less likely, as well as decreasing stress, blood pressure and even glucose in diabetics.
Marion said: “With more and more people realising how hugely beneficial pet therapy can be, the demand for visits far outstrips supply, so we’re always on the look out for new volunteers with happy, healthy pets who can spare a couple of hours a week to visit.”
Therapets can be any size or breed - many are mongrels. They must be a year old and have been with their owner for at least six months. Dogs and cats that are well behaved, have friendly and outgoing temperaments - like their owners –and who love having a fuss made of them are ideal. The should be healthy, well groomed, wormed regularly and kept under complete control during visits.
Anyone interested email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0131 553 0034.