Grants in Focus – Toast the Therapy Dog

Our inaugural Give500 winner in 2021 Junction Support Services recently gave us an update on the amazing work from Toast and the Team. We love that our donors made this program possible, and we hope you enjoy the update!

Junction Support Services entered into a partnership with the Dog Education Centre to purchase and train Junction’s first therapy dog.

Toast, the therapy dog, came to live with her handler, Rachel Hapgood, early in 2022 and undertook nearly six months of training.

Toast is now attending appointments across several programs in the organisation. One of which is our specialist children’s program. These children have all experienced homelessness and often family violence. Our children’s specialist workers work therapeutically with the child and their caregivers to help alleviate some of the trauma experienced. Toast has acted as a conduit to build trust and have difficult conversations.

Toast also attends several of our residential homes on a weekly basis. Young people in these houses are unable to live at home for a myriad of reasons. Toast helps to bring some normalcy to their experience; Toast also assists the young people to regulate their emotions and give them something positive to focus on.

Our grant aimed to have 50 individual engagements during the first year. We have well exceeded this number with over 200 engagements and 128 hours of support provided by Toast so far.

A number of studies have been provided by Junction Support highlighting the benefit Toast is bringing to clients and staff alike in the short time he has worked with them.