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Therapets Make a Difference - Visits at HMP Shotts

In January of this year I started volunteering for CCST at HMP Shotts. It was evident from an initial meeting with Prison staff that they were looking to start a programme for fit healthy prisoners, a bit different from my usual visits to Care homes and Hospitals, with thinking cap on I devised a programme where the prisoners would be able to interact with a dog. After several weeks of training their respective dogs in basic obedience and learning about the responsibility and care of a dog, a small test was set. The prisoners were asked to put their dog through all exercises learnt and also to answer questions on the Canine Code. This programme proved to be such a success that both the staff and prisoners found this to be a worthwhile exercise that impacted greatly on the prisoners wellbeing. Each prisoner developed a great bond with their dog and looked forward to the weekly sessions. It has proved so popular that there is now a growing waiting list of prisoners who wish to take part. (All thanks to the prison grapevine!) At the end of the sessions the Prison Staff organised an official presentation for the Certificates of Achievement I had made.

The picture above shows the presentation and also the beautiful oil painting that one of the prisoners did for me, what a surprise! although I had wondered why one of the officers asked me to email her a photo!

This will be an ongoing programme at the Prison.

Permission was given by both the Prison and Prisoners to reproduce the photo and both dogs were brought together for the presentation.

Pictured above CCST Area Representative Christine Fairgrieve and her Therapets Charlie & Tia who took part in this programme

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