Recently I connected with a beautiful soul looking for something very specific.

As perfect as the solution she was seeking for her problem was – it was also unique for our country.

5 years ago Tina experienced and survived one of the most brutal attacks a woman can experience – she was gang raped as well as sustaining other very serious injures – and this in her own home – her place of safety! Fortunately she found herself in a circle of very supportive people and has since continued on her journey of processing and healing this horrific experience!

However, in spite of a professional and supportive structure around her – she still bares not only the physical scars of her experience but also the emotional consequences that comes with living with PTSD. One of the most effective therapies for people living with PTSD regardless of the cause of their PTSD is Animal Assisted Therapy – or more specially an Assistance Animal.

Tina approached us looking for an Assistance Dog. To the best of my knowledge the only organisation in SA that does this kind of work is the Association for the Blind training Guide Dogs as seeing Dogs. Knowing the difference an assistance dog could make in the life of someone like Tina – I immediately jumped at the opportunity to do what I love – use the gift that dogs have to help someone in need.

I contacted a long standing friend – Daniel Stewart – a professional dog trainer and behaviorist of many years – and asked him to come on board with this project.

We then assessed a couple of doggies to find the right fit for Tina and a dog with the potential of being an Assistance Dog.

Wednesday this week Poppy was adopted from Husky Rescue KZN by Tina. Both Poppy and Tina have entered a training program in partnership with myself Charnell Ruth as an Animal Assisted Therapy practitioner and Professional Counselor, and Daniel Stewart as a Professional Dog Trainer.

Our objective is to train Poppy and nurture a Healing relationship between Tina and Poppy – thus helping Tina overcome the fears and limitations she lives with as a result of her traumatic experience!

And so begins our formal ARROHHH Assistance Animal Training Program.

Watch this space!