By Our Better World:
Telly is a professional therapy dog. Although her time with 9-year-old Jarene looks like fun and games, she’s actually helping her develop social skills in an environment that’s free from judgement, expectations and emotional pressures. Jarene was born with rare conditions that affect her face, mouth and throat muscles. She speaks and learns differently, and as her mum Sally puts it: “To see a dog that is so tolerant, it’s very refreshing. Human friends are not that tolerant.”
Sally also describes her daughter’s time with Telly as “a space where she can totally be herself”. And that’s important for Jarene.
Telly works with Maureen, who is trained in Animal Assisted Therapy. She designs sessions to address her clients’ specific needs. Maureen and Telly work with children and youth from all kinds of backgrounds, including those who have special needs, or are struggling with addictions, anger management issues, depression, stress and trauma from triggers such as divorce or bullying.
Together, human and dog help them navigate challenges, make sense of experiences and learn social emotional skills. The magic is in the fact that clients benefit while having fun, and if they want to open up, they have the doggie ear of a devoted, non-judgemental companion.
Watch the magic unfold here:
How you can help:
Maureen and Telly together make up Pawsibility, an initiative based in Singapore that utilises animal-assisted therapy for counselling and social emotional learning. You and your dog can volunteer to join Telly and his friends to provide companionship, motivation and recreation at homes for children, seniors, and hospices. Do also share this video ahead and make Pawsibility’s work reach thousands!