We are very pleased to announce that Canine Concern Scotland Trust Trustee and former Area Representative for Edinburgh & the Lothians Douglas Ruthven has been awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday honours list. - “For voluntary service to the community in Edinburgh and the Lothians”.
Douglas joined CCST as a volunteer in 1998 and started Therapet visiting initially with Cassie then Holly and now presently with Keira, all Border Collies. In 2000 in took over as the Edinburgh & the Lothians as our Area Representative and continued doing so until 2016. In 2008 Douglas accepted an invitation to join the Trust’s Board of Trustees and he brought to it wealth of experience from his professional life as well as firsthand knowledge of the Therapet Service.
In his role as Area Representative it involved him carrying out assessments of potential Therapets and the placement of them and their volunteer owners in hospitals, care and nursing homes. These tasks in themselves take up a considerable amount of time but in addition Douglas carried out promotional work for the Trust and regularly gave talks to groups interested in learning about the Therapet Service. Douglas was responsible for successful negotiations with NHS Lothian which led to a formal agreement for the supply of Therapet Volunteers to all relevant hospitals and care homes within NHS Lothian. This agreement proved to be the blueprint for agreements with other NHS Trusts in Scotland.
Douglas also has been at the forefront of the Trust’s work assisting psychologists with patients, mainly children, who have phobias about dogs.
In 2012, in conjunction with the Student Counselling Service at the University of Edinburgh, Douglas developed the “Paws Against Stress” service whereby teams of Therapet Volunteers take their Therapets to sessions with students particularly during examination periods to provide relaxation. The service has proved to be so successful that the Trust now provides it in nearly every University in Scotland. With the now overwhelmingly success of this type of event in 2016 nearly 10,000 students benefitted from the service.
During his 16 years as Area Representative Douglas made significant, and positive, differences to the lives of so many people ranging from children in hospitals and schools, students, people in care and nursing homes and indeed to the team of Therapet Volunteers that he managed so successfully and sensitively.
Canine Concern Scotland Trust congratulates Douglas on this honour.