The Dog Team is headed up by a staff member and serves +/- 100 pit bulls. This workstation requires focus, discipline and a love for dogs. It is the responsibility of the Dog Team to plan our daily Dog Walk and ensure that all dogs are fed and well taken care of. The Dog Team sees a great reward in that when residents come onto our program they are dead inside and by connecting with their dog during dog walk they start to become emotionally alive again as they develop a love for their Pitbull.
This team can look forward to experiencing a brotherhood as they work hard to look after these animals and in turn feel a sense of purpose and satisfaction in achieving their daily goals. There is a significant symbolism of a Pitbull… they have the reputation of a “Fighting Dog” – in this way they remind us to grab hold of our recovery, fight for sobriety & never let go of hope.
Dog team members undergo a training program, reinforced through informed video footage.
This is done under supervision of Morné, an expert on breeding and handling of pit bulls.
Further training/duties for dog team members consist of the following:
a) Maintenance of dogs
b) Feeding schedules
c) Nutritional input
d) Health concerns
h) Supervision of daily dog walk
When talking about “Dog therapy”, this refers to dog team members.
Residents on the dog team have the opportunity to care for something other than themselves.
The dog team members are trained (giving them a sense of accomplishment, to be able to handle these dogs) and are taught to be responsible for animals that are totally dependant on them for their care.
We have also found that residents with withdrawal, insecurity and fear to trust people, can relate better to an animal that accepts them unconditionally.
This is beneficial to the emotional healing process and gives them the confidence to start reaching out to people as well.