The positive impact Freya, a Stabyhoun, has had within the Partnership was recognised recently by the many colleagues who nominated her as part of the 2023 staff awards.
Freya’s owner, Andy Jones, a horticultural therapist at the Partnership, has been bringing Freya to visit service users at Chase Farm Hospital since she was a puppy. It’s her “calming presence” that Andy thinks makes her such a hit on the wards and in the hospital’s gardens. “She helps to bring service users out of their shell.”
The time service users spend playing with Freya in the fresh air and practising different tricks is also an opportunity for them to catch up with Andy and share any issues they may be experiencing.
Both Freya and Andy have been praised for their ability to form connections with service users who may be struggling to communicate their feelings with staff or peers. According to Andy, interacting with Freya has brought benefits for service users who may be more hesitant to engage in other physical contact or activities on offer at Chase Farm.
Thanks to their interactions with Freya, many service users go on to take up canine-related careers such as dog grooming once they leave the service.
Freya even has Instagram and TikTok accounts (@fabfreyastaby), where Andy posts videos and pictures of her out on walks and relaxing at home, allowing former service users who no longer get to see her in person to keep up with her. And you can watch a video of a day in her life by going to the link at the top right of this story.
While Freya will soon be looking to retire, Andy hopes that she will have puppies at the end of the year ready to follow in their mum’s pawprints!