Lewis the Nice 2b Nice therapy dog

Lewis is our fully trained therapy dog

“Trained to a high standard to provide joy, affection and comfort to children in their homes, hospitals or schools with various learning disabilities or those just in need of a smile through ill health; Lewis is talented, loving and understanding of all the children he meets and their individual needs”

Lewis & Dave

Why are therapy dogs useful?

Many people love dogs, and as any dog owner will tell you, simply spending time with your dog or being greeted by them after a hard day at work can really lift your mood. Many people think of their dogs as their best friends and a vital part of their life and we agree with that wholeheartedly; This love can be passed on to people who are in hospital, long-term hospice care or for those through ill health that are spending most of their time at home and in need of mental and physical stimulation; also people with conditions such as autism, often find communicating with a dog much easier than communicating with other people putting them at ease with their surroundings. Therapy dogs can be taken (with permission) into such environments where regular dogs are not allowed to go, and let people meet, pet and spend time with them, providing a much needed mental lift and spreading a lot of happiness as they go; this can make hospitalisation or medical treatment at home much more bearable for many, and give them something to look forward to even if for just a short period of time.

What happens on a visit?

Lewis’ friends are typically invited to stroke, pet and cuddle the therapy dog, interacting with him in whatever way they are most comfortable. Not all patients will want to handle him and this is fine as some will benefit just from watching him happily play with others. Physically able patients may play fetch or throw toys for him whilst others may want a cuddle or stroke; however, whatever the child’s needs his handler (David) will ensure the visit is conducted safely and smiles are made.

The objective of Lewis’ visit is to provide therapy in any way the patient feels comfortable and help patients relieve stress and tension associated with their conditions or illness, even just for a short time. Lewis has been trained with basic commands like sit, roll over, stay and even taught games such as ‘hide/find the ball’ or patiently resting treats on his paws to entertain patients. Accounting for a child’s condition and sometimes excited approach towards Lewis in the course of his work and in the training he’s had Lewis may be stroked roughly, hugged hard, or have his paws and tail manipulated. However, this area is monitored very closely by his handler (David) and any play deemed too rough causing distress towards Lewis, intervention will be made for the safety of the patient and Lewis; play and interaction is usually given a time frame of about 20 minutes before Lewis needs rewarding. Play can continue after this break but for no longer than two hours.

What are the core traits of a good therapy dog?

There are a huge range of different traits that a good therapy dog possesses, and any breed of dog may potentially have what it takes, there are no restrictions on things like age and size, assuming that the dog is adult, fit and suited for the role. The first and most important element of a good therapy dog is safety and temperament, therapy dogs must be completely safe around people from all walks of life and of all ages, in all sorts of different situations.

Therapy dogs must be highly social with both people and other dogs, and should also be generally calm, open and not phased by new situations. They should also be enthusiastic about meeting new people, kind, loving and friendly, while also able to moderate their behaviour instinctively to avoid inadvertently hurting someone who may be ill or not fully mobile, this describing Lewis to-a-T!

They must also be well trained, highly obedient and able to keep their heads and respond to commands when a lot of stimulus is competing for their attention, something Lewis spent 6 months initial training on and continues to do so on a daily basis and on official visits.

Good Boy!

Just a few areas of competence

  • Exceptional tolerance of handling by strangers
  • No sensitivity to rough stroking or petting
  • Excellent obedience levels
  • The ability to walk on the lead without pulling
  • Tolerance of unusual smells and sights, such as wheelchairs, medical devices
  • No fear of unsteady movement in humans
  • A calm disposition
  • Docility
  • Tolerance of other animals
  • Complete lack of food or toy aggression and guarding behaviours
  • Ability to learn from his handlers instructions

As you can see, therapy dogs must be exceptionally well behaved and reliable, therapy dogs must never jump on or even paw at humans, as this can cause fearful reactions in vulnerable patients. They should be groomed regularly, and have monthly/annual check-ups at the vet to ensure a clean bill of health. All the above areas are done as standard to ensure we have a happy, efficient and effective working dog.

History of therapy dogs

Lewis Therapy DogDogs have been providing love and reassurance to their owners for centuries. For as long as dogs have been domesticated, there has been evidence of their natural healing abilities over the physically and emotionally convalescent. The first therapeutic use of dogs can be traced back to ancient Greece, when dogs were employed to lick the wounds of injured human patients. In the 1700s, Quakers brought dogs to some of the earliest treatment centres for the mentally unstable, allowing patients to raise and tend to pets in order to rebuild their social skills. Later in Europe, Florence Nightingale herself developed early theories on the use of animals in therapy, acknowledging their unique power to heal. Through World War II and into the modern era, the training and procurement of therapy dogs has been taken on with a more organised, formal approach. One pioneer of contemporary animal therapy was Nancy Stanley, who in the 1970s helped spark current demand for therapy dogs across the world. Since then, several studies have been carried out proving that interaction with dogs increases levels of neurotransmitters associated with happiness and bonding, while reducing chemicals associated with distress.

Our mission with Lewis

“Lewis has been introduced into the charity and working closely with outside trainers and the Nice 2b Nice team since summer 2017, not only as a working dog but a much loved family pet; we’re confident and happy with the training he’s received and believe with his natural calm nature will bring smiles to many of the children of this area that need him”

Booking Lewis is done by application and by appointment only!

Contact can be made for an application form directly with Nice 2b Nice on the REGISTER button below, or via any of the following links:

Email – nice2bnice72@yahoo.com

Facebook PM – facebook.com/N2BNUK (Search Nice 2b Nice)

Lewis’ services are free of charge to the children of this area that need him and for those that come under the charities criteria; as long as the level of support Nice 2b Nice receives continues, we don’t intend on making any changes to this for the foreseeable future.

Useful Resources

  • Good for mental health
  • Spreading happiness to sick children
  • Help make medical treatment more bearable

  • Stroke, pet and cuddle Lewis the therapy dog!

Book Lewis For Your Little Loved One Today!

By appointment and application only
Email bookings only as legal paperwork needs sending out and returning.