What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever taken to a business meeting? For Lesley Fage, Sales Manager at Lightfoot, the answer to that question is her three-year-old border collie, Aero.
It may sound strange, but there’s a heart-warming explanation for Aero’s presence beside Lesley at 5 Senses where she attended a meeting to discuss whether Lightfoot would be a suitable device for their minibuses.
The charity have several minibuses driven by a number of staff members, which are used to take the students on a wide range of excursions, from the local swimming pool down the road to Tropical World in Leeds. For this reason, 5 Senses were considering buying a few Lightfoot devices to increase vehicle safety, and to significantly reduce fuel costs, enabling more money to be spent on actively helping the students.
When Lesley called to confirm the appointment, she spoke to Mark Clarkson, Senior Coordinator, about how she and Aero volunteer at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, visiting the staff and patients and providing them with the simple therapy of canine affection. The pair attend several different wards on the hospital for each week and have been doing so since August, as members of Therapy Dogs Nationwide (TDN).
It’s a proven fact that Therapy Dogs help with a huge range of needs and requirements from depression to anxiety, and the charity TDN works to help these people in schools, special needs schools, hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, care centres and prisons.
The organisation is run entirely by volunteers, and the dogs are rigorously tested to ensure they have the right temperament for the role. Lesley says that Aero has a natural affinity for it.
On hearing about how well this goes down with people suffering from such a large range of mental and physical ailments, 5 Senses agreed that the business meeting with Lesley would be too good an opportunity to miss.
So, sure enough, Lesley arrived for her meeting in Hull an hour early with Aero in tow. They were showed to the art room to meet the first student, a young man who amazed all of the support workers with his reaction to Aero, stroking his ears and cradling his head in what was, apparently, a rare display of affection. Other students were also enamoured by Aero’s calming nature, full of questions for Lesley about him. A few of them were reluctant to leave him, and kept trying to sneak back into the room to spend more time with him when it was another student’s turn.
The visit was a success in every sense of the word, leaving both students and staff happy (and very taken with Aero by the sounds of it!). Unfortunately, Lesley doesn’t live near enough the centre to take Aero there regularly, so the charity has asked her to see if she can arrange for a more local TDN volunteer to bring another Therapy Dog to meet the students, seeing as it went so well. And, to ice this wonderfully heart-warming cake, the centre is having five Lightfoot devices fitted, so we’re sure they’ll be saving money on their fuel in no time, along with keeping their students safe with good driver behaviour.
If you would like to find out more about Lightfoot check out their website at https://www.lightfoot.co.uk
If you would like to find out more about Therapy Dogs Nationwide go to http://therapydogsnationwide.org/