Lucky is a 7-year-old Golden Retriever with a heart of gold. She loves children and is extremely patient. She looks at you and her look goes through your soul and finds that part of your heart that connects with her heart and miracles happen.
Lucky is a therapy dog: she graduated with flying colours her Red Cross accreditation and achieved the highest level, Level II. There are only three Level II therapy dogs in Europe and I am so fortunate to have her in my life.
Lucky and BSB Children
Lucky works at the BSB where she helps children with behavioural or emotional challenges. She helps them concentrate, strengthen their self-esteem, calm their anxieties, laugh and forget their worries, develop their fine motor skills and so much more.
Above all she makes little miracles every day. Like the transformation of a child who has been crying when entering the school and leaving his parents, to a happy and laughing child after seeing Lucky at the gate and walking Lucky to his class. Or another child who struggles with language getting caught in the game and the excitement of playing with Lucky and starting to learn and use new words.
Is it the connection between Lucky and the child? Is it that special look that Lucky has? The energy of love? No one knows, what is certain is that something very special takes place between dog and child.
What exactly is a therapy dog?
What exactly is a therapy dog? Can any dog become a therapy dog? How long do they train for? From what age? Who does the dog belong to? These are some of the questions people ask me.
- A therapy dog is a dog that has gone through the therapy dog schooling and has achieved the certification.
- The training takes many years of first obedience training and then clicker training where the dog learns to do funny tricks in order to be able to interact with children. But the most important part is the test of character, patience and lack of fears.
- It must be a very calm dog, good tempered and extremely friendly that is not scared of sudden movements, shouts, little hands pulling their ears, tail etc.
- The whole process started as soon as the puppy came into my life and is continuing every day with frequent visits to the Red Cross centre, re-evaluating her character and her abilities. Lucky did her first therapy when she was 4 years old after 4 years of training.
Where does Lucky live?
Lucky lives with me and belongs to all the children and people she helps. She is also a volunteer with the Red Cross Therapy Unit and the organisation of Més Que Surf who help children on the Autistic Spectrum learn how to surf.
She is teaching us every day how to be better people and how to keep helping others tirelessly with a huge smile on her doggy face.
By Ms Vivian Eleftheriou, BSB Learning Assistant