Engagement Matters

No matter who you are, it's a cold heart that doesn't melt at the sight of a puppy. Of course all puppies are adorable but there's something more. Something stirs deep inside and our mood lightens and we feel like smiling (even if we've had a day we'd rather forget). There is nothing like puppy dog eyes looking lovingly upwards to make us forget, even just for a moment, our daily woes. 


Getting to know you...

When our little miniature dachshund, Daphne, was a pup, we could not walk down the street without folk stopping us for a chat. No doubt anyone with a dog in their life has experienced something similar.  Our furry friends bring us together and we get to know our community a whole lot better. 


Increased trust....

During the first six months of Daphne's life, I was loathed to leave her at home for any great length of time. I worked as a consultant so working from home made life easier however, there were times when  I would be on the road conducting interviews. The first couple of trips, I did solo (Daphne-less). The next few I decided to take Daphne with me. My observation?  Interviews with Daphne reaped much more valuable data than those without. People immediately relaxed and after a few moments with Daphne began to  speak more openly and in greater detail about the topic at hand. The level of trust increased and barriers seemed to disappear. 


A dog for a day...

A good work environment generally means high productivity and healthy employees. Providing this safe and healthy workspace is normally paramount in the mind of a good employer. Some forward thinking organisations have trialled a 'bring your dog to work day'. Anecdotally staff spoke of a changed environment. Stress levels seemed to lessen and people generally seemed happier. Gosh, perhaps we should be paying our furry friends!


And one last thing...

There's a lovely initiative that asks people to volunteer their time, and their dog, to a reading program. The idea is that kids who are struggling with literacy and reading are partnered with a pooch and then read them a story.  Having spoken to some active volunteers of the program, outcomes to date show a significant improvement in literacy. Having a reading companion dog appears to build confidence in children and somehow relieves the anxiety and stress associated with reading challenges. What a wonderful initiative that thinks outside the box and truly shows how we can work with our canine companions to make a real difference. 


It seems a whole world of community engagement opportunities are out there where working with our furry friends can make a true difference.  It's up to us to find them!


Go Well.


All opinions, advice and observations are my own and based on my work as a teacher, facilitator, community development manager and owner and friend to Pixie, Sulu, Woody, Max and Daphne over a lifetime.