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Rescue dogs inspire community as therapy pets

PUBLISHED: 10:30 20 July 2018

Pets as Therapy volunteer, Hannah Colbourn, with her therapy dogs, Peggy and Todd.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Pets as Therapy volunteer, Hannah Colbourn, with her therapy dogs, Peggy and Todd. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

Two much-loved pets have made the transition from rescue to therapy dogs.

Pets as Therapy volunteer, Hannah Colbourn, with her therapy dogs, Peggy and Todd.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYPets as Therapy volunteer, Hannah Colbourn, with her therapy dogs, Peggy and Todd. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Todd and Peggy belong to mother-of-two Hannah Colbourn, 38, from Norwich, and have been making quite an impression on their community.

The pair haven’t had the easiest start in life - Peggy is an eight-year-old crossbreed adopted from Dogs of Portugal in 2017.

When Peggy was rescued she was neglected, with a large mammary tumour, a cyst on her neck and an injury to her tongue.

Todd is a seven-year-old retired greyhound adopted from Yarmouth Greyhound Homefinders in August 2016.

Pets as Therapy volunteer, Hannah Colbourn's therapy dog, Peggy.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYPets as Therapy volunteer, Hannah Colbourn's therapy dog, Peggy. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

They are both now registered Pets As Therapy dogs.

Pets As Therapy (PAT) is a national charity founded which aims to enhance health and wellbeing in the community through the visits of trusted volunteers with their behaviourally assessed animals.

Todd has been a PAT dog for just over a year and Peggy qualified this year.

Mrs Colbourn said: “I couldn’t be more proud of them.

“Todd brought so much joy into my family’s life that we wanted to share him with those who would benefit the most and so applied as Pets As Therapy volunteers.

“He has since built up a huge fan base and visits three schools in the Golden Triangle - Avenue Junior and Recreation Road Infant where he listens to children read, and The Parkside School where he socialises with children with acute additional needs.

“He has also been cuddled by stressed out UEA students and by children affected by bereavement through Nelsons Journey.

“He was specifically requested to work in conjunction with a psychologist treating a dog-phobic child and has already been booked up for reading sessions at both Earlham Library and the Millennium Library in the summer holidays.

“He is in such high demand that I often feel like his PA!”

Peggy recently visited Heather Avenue Infant School in Hellesdon and helped her owner give a talk to a group of girl guides.

She said: “There is a huge waiting list of schools and care homes who would love a visit from a PAT dog but there simply aren’t enough volunteers.

“If anyone thinks their dog might be suitable and would be interested in volunteering please visit The Pets As Therapy website for more information.”

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