Happy bulldog heals hearts of Southern Downs children
ONE very special bulldog is targeting the hearts and minds of troubled children, using his sweet smile and calming presence to provide therapeutic support at Darling Downs Wellness Therapies.
Bullseye, the six-year-old American Bulldog, is a highly trained therapy dog working at a 900 acre wellness retreat in the Goomburra Valley.
The happy pup is an invaluable resource to children, teenagers and adults experiencing anxiety, depression or on the Autism spectrum, according to owner and occupational therapist Bel du Bois.
"Bullseye can be used as an ice breaker for kids who find it hard to communicate and so he can really help them socialise," Ms du Bois said.
"He has such a calming effect: He knows to single out anyone feeling anxious and stand next to them, leaning in to them so they pat him.
"You can immediately notice a difference in their anxiety."
The burly white dog takes his clients on bushwalking adventures and accompanies them in therapy sessions.
Owner, dog behaviourist and counsellor-in-training Neil Erskine said Bullseye just has a way of making people feel special.
Mr Erskine has looked after Bullseye since he was a pup, first training him to be a therapy dog for other dogs with behavioural issues.
The two would travel the country helping dogs overcome their reactivity, using Bullseye's calming nature to teach them how to walk and interact with the general public once again.
"He would just stand there, so stable, and be totally happy to not retaliate," Mr Erskine said.
Bullseye seems to enjoy his work, often recognising his favourite clients and trotting over for a pat and a catch up.
"He just loves it," Ms du Bois said.
"If a dog can smile, you can see that smile in Bullseye.
"It's fantastic, we're so proud of him."