Husky Cuddle Line
NZDF/RNZRSA Interagency programme – People (and Dogs) supporting People
- A story from Lorraine Aitken, Local Support Advisor Burnham Hub
I recently had the privilege of meeting Ms Michelle Attwood, the Founder of Husky Rescue NZ (firstname.lastname@example.org), to discuss a fantastic opportunity that may enable another potential layer of support around our people that we are so committed to assisting.
Michelle has designed and introduced this valuable service to a number of organisations including, but not limited to: local hospitals, children’s programmes at the International Antarctic Centre and University of Canterbury, by providing her service dogs to be with people who are often in a time of need.
The support that Michelle’s Huskies can provide include the opportunity to sit one on-one-to pat and chat, be on a “cuddle line” or to walk a Husky in tranquil surroundings.
Michelle very kindly (and extremely generously) offered our Hub six sessions for those meeting with us who may be in a time of need where the Huskies can add benefit.
On 16 May, our very special guests arrived at our Drop in Clinic at the Burnham Hub. Michelle brought two of her rescue Huskies: Arya who is 4 ½ years old and Max who is 2 years old. Once the ladies in the room got over the sight of two extremely beautiful and regal Huskies wandering on in (and being slightly ignored!) – Arya and Max got straight to work.
First up, Max went and had a bit of a chat with Brian, but quickly on his heels was Arya who decided she wanted to be in Brian’s company, and as you will see, a very quick bond was established and frankly, Max didn’t get a look in. (Don’t worry, Max has his own great story to tell next up).
Max appeared quite happy with Arya’s choice as he had actually made his own choice and set in his sights for some one-on-one company with Ollie.
As you can see below, Max “weaselled his way” to where he wanted to be! I must say, I heard no complaints from either party!
Both Ollie and Brian commented on how relaxing it was to have Arya and Max alongside of them. Both lads felt the stresses of the day dissipate and added value to their time at the Hub. Ollie recommended to us that we should have them back again soon.
The Amazing Outcome
My observation of the interactions exceeded my expectations to be honest with you. I fully understand the power of cathartic support and contact of and with an animal, however, observing Max and Arya in action was nothing short of amazing. Michelle can be truly proud of these two beauties and how quickly “they sized up the boys”.
They got on with what they do best - helping people relax and destress.
Two hours passed very quickly and it was time for Arya and Max to head back home with Michelle.
We are so grateful to Michelle for her time and support.
Did I manage a Hug with a Husky… You bet I did!