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‘Walkies’ for Julie in Pet Therapy Project

A kind-hearted Teri is dedicating her free time to others by volunteering for the Therapet animal assisted therapy service.

Julie Grieve, originally from Hawick, joined the group just over a year ago and has been visiting those in need with her four pets ever since.

Now living in Galashiels and working as a hairdresser, Julie spends her only day off as a Therapet volunteer, a service offered by Canine Concern Scotland Trust.

She said: “I’ve always had a love for animals from a young age. I worked at the pet shop in Union Street in Hawick in the 70s from when I was 11 until I was 16. It was owned by Bert Murray back then and I learned all kinds of skills such as dog grooming.”

Julie has always had pets and currently has two Ragdoll cats, Darwin and Donatello, and two American Cocker Spaniels, Frankie Doodle-Love and Meera Pudding-Paws.

She introduced some of her clients to her pets before volunteering for the charity.

Julie explained: “Before I joined Therapets last August, I made a few visits to care homes to do some of my regular clients’ hair if they could no longer make it down to the salon.

“When we got chatting I would sometimes mention my pets which led a couple of them to ask me to bring one of them with me next time.

“When I did I saw the amazing reaction they got. It was like opening a window and sometimes triggered old memories or stories from the client about pets that they had owned.”

“In some cases it was really something because they might not have spoken properly or remembered anything for some time so it was amazing to see.”

The Therapet volunteers, who work all over the country, take their pets into care homes, hospitals and sheltered accommodation to give pet therapy. Just stroking or holding a dog or cat can slow down a person’s heartbeat, making heart attacks less likely, as well as decrease stress, blood pressure and blood glucose in diabetics.

Despite only volunteering for a year, Frankie Doodle-Love received a nomination for Therapet of the Year 2015 which Jools said is an amazing achievement.

Article first appeared on 29 November 2015 Hawick News

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