A boxer dog with a “unique gift” comforting adults with severe cerebral palsy has made it to the finals of a national Pets as Therapy (PAT) competition.
Five-year-old-Marque has been named one of six finalists in the HiLife PAT Dog of the Year 2013/14.
He was nominated by Scope Rosewarne where he spends time helping residents build their confidence and self-esteem through mental and sensual stimuli.
Owner, Tony Cousins of Redruth, said Marque seems to have a unique gift and insight into their emotions.
He said: “Each person’s needs are different. They may simply need interaction, motivation or help to increase their mobility and cognitive co-ordination. They seem to deal better with their emotions when Marque is in the room and have more confidence to go outdoors as long as he is with them.”
Pets as Therapy has more than 5,000 volunteers with their registered PAT dogs bringing comfort and friendship to thousands of people.
Marque was also nominated by Illogan School in Redruth where he has been helping children improve their reading ability through the PAT Read2Dogs scheme.
Mr Cousins added: “When a child falls behind in their reading, for whatever reason, it can be really difficult for them to catch up. They love reading to Marque as he just happily sits and listens without interruption. The atmosphere is so much calmer as the children feel under less pressure. It’s been amazing to see how their confidence has grown.”
Marque is now attending two Read@Dog sessions a week at the Curnow School in Redruth where he is helping children with severe learning difficulties to improve and enjoy their reading.
The winner will be announced at Crufts on March 8 next year. The lucky dog will scoop £500 plus three months supply of HiLife dog food. The runners up will win £100 plus one months supply.
To vote for Marque, visit www.yours.co.uk/patdogs
For more information about Pets as Therapy, visit www.petsastherapy.org or call 01844 345 445.