Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a therapy dog? Here Mo Read outlines Rio’s journey: from a bit of a naughty boy to a proper good citizen and so much more!
Rio is a Spanish Water Dog. Born in Wales on 16th Sept. 2015. His official name at the Kennel Club is Kincara Bobby's Child but when he came to live with us at the age of 10 weeks we called him Rio, as a short form of Rioja, the Spanish wine! We have full details of his parents, grandparents and great grandparents, who all have splendid names! His Father was Lendever's Fervent Mind, his Mother Prizelands Sweet Harmony, whilst his paternal grandparents were Leonneus de Ubrique of Maravilla and Lendevers Bolshie Madam and maternal grandparents Josalyn Galeno and Hillin Amigo Mia for Prizelands. Rio does have a certain aristocratic air about him!
We had previously had two Golden Labradors; they were gorgeous but not very obedient! Our fault, not theirs; we should have trained them.
We decided to take Rio to training lessons to get his Kennel Club Good Citizens awards. In the bronze class he peed up the walls, he peed over other dogs, he barked and barked but he managed to get his Bronze and Silver Awards within a few weeks. Getting his Gold Award took a bit longer - just over a year! He was very good at some training exercises and terrible at others. For example the dogs had to walk in a figure of eight round bowls containing food without touching them. Rio is not a good eater; we have to bribe him to eat sometimes with roast chicken, liver or sardines in oil. Even though his lessons were at lunchtime, he would ignore the food in the bowls. The Labradors on the course failed every time because of course Labradors love their food. On the other hand, for one of the exercises Rio had to sit whilst I walked away. I would then call him but when he was about three metres away from me I would tell him to sit. Instead of sitting he would bound up to me and then looked surprised when I would not give him a treat for being a good boy. His face said it all - I was sitting, you called me, why on earth should I sit again??????????
Eventually he got his Gold Good Citizens award and it was time to see if he could become a PAT (Pets as Therapy) dog. He had to be assessed and it is fair to say he was truly brilliant. At one point, the assessor dropped a tin tray on the ground behind us. I jumped but Rio just turned round and looked at the assessor as though to say 'Why did you do that? It was a silly thing to do.'
So how did Rio come to CLEAR? I was told by a Police Officer that CLEAR was a good, worthwhile charity to support. I was impressed by Simon Carpenter, the then CEO, and also the therapists so Rio started to visit the offices. He loved it and the children loved him. He loves a cuddle, as we all do, and he senses when someone is unwell. As well as visiting CLEAR, in normal times he goes to Bodmin Hospital. Only twice has he jumped on the bed. Once when an elderly, blind lady who had to lie on her back in bed could not reach to stroke him and once when he got no reaction from a 40 year old man who had had a major stroke. Rio visited that man regularly until he was well enough to go home.
You may have met Rio at fundraising events. He is happy to sit, be stroked or cuddled. He has the softest ears and children who do not like dogs have been persuaded to stroke them.
His latest success was a retired SAS soldier who was frightened of dogs and would not go into the same room as one. He is now happy to walk with Rio, to stroke him and to play with him.
The CLEAR Annual General Meeting 2021 is at 6-30pm on 21st September 2021 in Truro.
Booking is essential so we can send you the Zoom link.
We are deeply saddened that our friend and colleague Judith Warren passed away suddenly on 2nd August 2021. Judith was a huge part of CLEAR, and before that of CRASAC. At CLEAR she was a clinical supervisor for our Children & Young People Service, Adult Service and Diploma Students. Judith was highly qualified, hugely experienced and brought many years of professional practice and understanding to her role. She was looking forward to joining our Board of Trustees towards the end of the year. Most of all she was a trusted, valued and much loved colleague and we will miss her so much.
Judith was beloved wife to Philip for 50 years, loving Mum to Nick and Becky, Mum in law to Sam and Rodger and devoted Nana to Will, Órla and Rory, sister to Terry and sister-in-law to Sue.
She was a loved and respected Trustee and Elder of the Quaker family at Come to Good and in Cornwall. Judith also played a significant role within the Truro Diocese.
Sue Brown, Chair of Trustees CLEAR said: “This is such very sad news. Judith was such an important part of CLEAR and before that CRASAC. Judith will be greatly missed by us all - her kindness and professional wisdom were always valued by us all. Our thoughts are with her family and friends and with love and gratitude for all her work.”
The funeral was held at Treswithian Downs Crematorium on Monday 23rd August. Donations to CLEAR, Emotional Trauma and Therapy Specialists in Cornwall.
After serious consideration, we regret to announce that we have placed a temporary pause on referrals into our adult service for victims and survivors of rape and sexual abuse. We are experiencing unprecedented levels of demand and have more adults waiting for support than ever before. Our team of over 40 counsellors and therapists are working at full capacity. We therefore need to focus on building capacity and supporting the people who are currently in our service and on the waiting list in order to prevent further service overwhelm.
We understand that this decision may have an impact on wellbeing and we apologise for this. We will re-open for referrals as soon as we can and will review the situation at the end of September when an update will be given on our website.
We currently have more than 200 adults on the waitlist and are receiving new referrals every day and we are currently at full capacity with counsellors. The numbers waiting mean that we would be committing funds for 2022-23, if we continued to accept referrals, and as yet we don’t know the total level of funding we will receive next year. We are therefore focussing on adult clients currently in service and on the current waiting list. And we are building our counselling capacity through the use of experienced clinical placements and we will continue to advertise for additional sessional counsellors.
Carolyn Webster, CLEAR CEO said: “It feels like a heavy weight having to make this decision but we are in danger of becoming overwhelmed by demand and we need to make sure that we can continue to deliver to our usual high standards for our current clients. We will review the decision at the end of September with a view to setting a date to re-open for self-referrals only.”
Inside Out West Cornwall spent the end of June and the start of July at allotments in Connor Downs. The team helped tidy up the communal spaces and prepare an overgrown allotment for growing fruit and vegetables. Work at the allotment has resulted in waste metal recycled; disused wood burnt and the ash made available for use as a fertiliser for fruit crops, and the team also signposted an allotment holder to the Wildlife Trust for help in relocating a hedgehog family!
Craig Little, from project partner Rebuild Southwest, said: “The team have helped make a real difference at the allotment for the allotment users and the wildlife – hopefully we will be back later in the year to tend an allotment of our own! ”
Inside Out West Cornwall supports people who are not working. The project reaches out to people whose mental health and emotional wellbeing has taken a knock during the pandemic and helps them to get back on track and into training and work.
Inside Out West Cornwall is funded by the European Social Fund (through Community Led Local Development managed by Cornwall Development Company), Cornwall Council and the project partners themselves.
Led by local charity CLEAR, alongside Rebuild Southwest, Inside Out West Cornwall provides provide a mix of online (Inside) and community based (Out) support and activities to help people feel safe about reconnecting with their community, rebuild confidence, motivation and emotional resilience, and provide routes into work and training. It is unique in that it combines trauma-informed therapeutic approaches with practical, enjoyable, community-based activities, such as the re-vamp of the allotments in Connor Downs. The CHAOS Group also supports the project through vocational training and volunteer placements.
More information about Inside Out is available here