News • 18 May 2022

Meet Scout, headspace Strathpine's newest recruit

Meet Scout, headspace Strathpine's newest recruit
Scout is headspace Strathpine's therapy dog in training.

headspace Strathpine (operated by Open Minds) has recently welcomed its newest and furriest recruit – Scout, a therapy dog in training.

Scout’s owner, Kira Thomas, is a Clinical Lead at headspace Strathpine and recognised that Scout’s happy, friendly nature could bring great value to the centre as a certified clinical therapy dog.

Scout is in her second week of a five-week training course through Therapy Dogs Australia that will channel her enthusiasm to help welcome and delight the young people accessing the headspace centre.

Kira was inspired to train her two year old Staffy-Labrador cross through her experience with therapy dogs in previous roles, and by witnessing the benefits of headspace Indooroopilly’s therapy dog, Winston.  

“Therapy dogs create a warm and welcoming environment and help people to feel calm and secure,” Kira said.

“Sometimes the young people walking in our front door are in a state of distress, and the non-judgemental approach of a dog can help reduce feelings of stress or anxiety,” Kira said.

Scout’s role will extend beyond comfort to headspace visitors. Scout will participate in group activities, such as art, to encourage participation from the young people attending the centre.

Kira explains that Scout will also assist to help model social cues.

“If someone communicates in a way that makes others uncomfortable - such as yelling - we can refer to Scout’s response to demonstrate that people in a similar situation may be affected in the same way,” she said.

Nick Martin, headspace Operations Manager, agrees that Scout will enhance the centre’s offerings.

“Demand for our services is growing and we must be creative with our resources. We see Scout as fantastic investment in making young people feel welcome and at ease when they visit us.”

Kira is grateful to have the support of management and other staff in her quest to introduce Scout as a clinical therapy dog.

“Scout will have to wait until she is certified to meet our young people, but in the meantime, my colleagues have already embraced the fun and warmth Scout brings to the centre,” Kira said.

Once Scout completes her training towards the end of June, she will join the headspace Strathpine centre three days a week.

“We’re looking forward to having Scout and her friendly face in the centre on a more regular basis,” Nick said. “We know the return on investment of a few liver treats and regular pats will be extremely high.”

In situations whereby headspace visitors prefer not to interact with Scout, the team will accommodate their request immediately.

For more information about headspace Strathpine, please visit Strathpine (headspace.org.au).