My story with a rescue therapy dog. – Roxanne Barker
I volunteered at the NHS on the elderly care wards, specifically for patients with dementia. My fellow work colleagues encouraged and supported me, enabling me to work well in this new environment. I was offered a position as a Therapeutic Activity Co-ordinator a year later. I met incredible medical staff and volunteers along the way; it is a tough, yet rewarding job.
One day, I met a very special furry volunteer and his human in the front foyer of the hospital. All three of us walked up to the ward and on the way I started chatting with his human. We discovered we had both spent time at similar animal rescue centres in Estepona and Marbella, Spain.
Miko is a rescue dog and he volunteers as a Pets As Therapy dog (he is a therapy dog and visits patients in the Stroke and Dementia wards). He has something about him that is so calming, reassuring and loving that he cannot enter the hospital without getting at least a hug. He lights up faces, gets so many cuddles before he even starts his rounds on the wards.
Miko brings the best in everyone and I felt inspired to draw his portrait. I did, and now I create dog portraits for their owners for a living. My next portrait will be of Botus, who was rescued from Thailand.
Where my heart lies is with the amazing stories of animals, for now dogs, who have suffered in horrendous ways all their lives. Through kindness, love and compassion – the Powerful 3, they are rescued, taken care of and given a quality of life.
I was born in Spain and lived in the wonderful province of Cádiz until 2013. Now I live in London, England. As a newborn, I was dumped at a dog pound in Estepona, managed by ADANA, from where I was rescued by a kennel volunteer. She and her husband have since adopted me, and love me very much!
I work for two different organisations: Spanish Stray Dogs UK ( I work in the Social Media Department), and Pets As Therapy (as I am a therapy dog and visit patients in the Stroke and Pediatrics Units of Kingston Hospital every week).
Regarding my education, it’s been mainly home-schooling (ongoing). Also, I attended the 4Paws Dog School in Costa del Sol for some “Obedience in a Social Environment” classes, where I met dog trainer Vivian Eales. Recently I have attended the ‘Do as I Do’ Dog Training Seminar, developed and presented by dog behaviourist and Ethology PhD Researcher Claudia Fugazza.
I love walking, swimming at the beach, travelling, sniffing around, discovering new places and helping dogs whose life is not as good as mine.