Over the last twelve months my work has diversified greatly and besides my canine behaviour and psychology work, I also work with students in local schools and colleagues who have a wide range of emotional and social behaviours that require support and development. To help me with my work I use two of my dogs Angus a three year old male rescue German Wirehaired Pointer from Cyprus and Chester an eight month old English Springer Spaniel. My work is extremely rewarding however, the extent of the emotional crisis that I see amongst young children is truly worrying. I remember my childhood and although we had little money I really cannot recall having the same emotional burden that many of the young students I work with have. I remember flared trousers, long hair, carefree days getting dirty and playing out in the warm sunshine. Society has changed so much since I was a child, with advancements in science and medicine being two of the most obvious. Whilst we enjoy all of the trappings of a technologically reliant society have we lost touch with our emotions, does modern society deem them superfluous? We seem to have lost touch with our emotions and how important they are to our health and wellbeing. I ask my students “How do we have such a strong relationship with dogs if we don’t share a common language?” We share our emotions with dogs and our emotions allow us to communicate and build such a strong bond, our emotions bind us together. Over the last week we have worked with students who were in a spiral of deep emotional crisis who have been unresponsive to human intervention. I have been able to reach out and connect with them through Angus and Chester. Had I been in that situation without Angus or Chester with me then like the other caring staff that were trying to help I am in no doubt that like them I would not have succeeded in engaging with these students. Students respond very well to our intervention methods with Angus and Chester and feel that they are able to talk to me through Angus and Chester about their worries. A colleague of mine observed that Angus and Chester act as a kind of emotional regulator for the students and this works both ways, when we take the time to sit down and cuddle our dogs. It’s a symbiotic relationship that regulates yours and your dog’s emotions, but imagine if you didn’t have the opportunity to regulate your emotions. Mental health awareness is as important to our overall health and wellbeing as physical health, and one which we should be on the curriculum in schools. We have created the society that we live in but, with all of it’s riches and trappings comes a price, have we have lost touch with our emotions?
Published by dogsmindsmatter
Canine behaviourist and psychologist Working with my rescue dogs in animal assisted interventions in schools and colleges. Working with young adults who have autism, ADHD, anxiety, and other non-typical neurodevelopmental disorders. View all posts by dogsmindsmatter