Therapy dog 'helps Milton Keynes police staff deal with trauma'

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image copyrightThames Valley Police
image captionBea the border collie has been going into Milton Keynes police station since December

A therapy dog called Bea has been helping staff at a police station deal with the stress and trauma they experience at work.

The border collie has been attending Milton Keynes police station on a weekly basis since December.

PCSO Arlene Ormston said the dog helped staff following a "particularly upsetting job".

The charity which organises the visits said dogs can help make "calmer staff".

Ms Ormston said: "Last December a number of officers in Milton Keynes attended a particularly upsetting job.

"She [Bea] did a tour of the station, including the control room, where she received plenty of fuss and attention.

"Following her visit, her owner received a lot of positive feedback about the benefit of having a dog in the station."

image copyrightCanine Concern
image captionValerie Fillery takes her dogs Konnor (left) and Savannah into schools, care homes, police stations and universities

Valerie Fillery, from the charity Canine Concern, said a visit from a dog had been shown to lower blood pressure and increase oxytocin levels.

"We're pleased that we can help people that are worse off than us. It's a stressful time for everyone, but they've certainly got it worse," she said.

The charity, based at Pevensey in East Sussex, has 500 volunteer dogs on its books and, despite the pandemic, was still able to go into schools, hospitals, ambulance stations and fire stations, said Ms Fillery.

"One dog owner told me 'put me down for anything, we're suffering from cabin fever, put me down for any time, any place'," she said.

"The dogs are desperate for 'work' and to feel needed.

"It's a win-win situation for the volunteers, the dogs and the people we visit. It's just a lovely thing to do."

image copyrightCanine Concern
image captionAimee takes her dog Casper into nursing stations to help staff
image copyrightCanine Concern
image captionKoji has been visiting Chesterfield Hospital where she is seen as "essential for the mental health and wellbeing of the staff"

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