Gunner, Orpington's resident therapy dog, will be at Nugent again on Tuesday 14 August from 11am till 2pm and Saturday 18 August from 12.30pm till 3.30pm. Read below to find out all about his last visit!
Gunner, Orpington’s resident therapy dog, has been at Nugent during this week’s half-term break, helping local children to practice their reading skills.
The free event, organised by Nugent’s owner, British Land, gave children the chance to read a book to Gunner while he sat and listened.
Gunner, a six-year-old German Shepherd, is part of the Therapy Dogs Nationwide charity, an organisation responsible for qualifying dogs to take part in therapy sessions.
The idea behind the reading sessions is that Gunner passes no judgement on the children’s ability to read – where many adults might – allowing them to read uninterrupted and ultimately building their confidence.
Gunner also regularly visits care homes, primary schools and special needs schools across Orpington to provide comfort to patients as part of his dog therapy duties.
Tina Powley, centre manager at Nugent, said: “We are always looking for new experiences to offer customers while they shop with us, and we were keen to put on an event that would not only be fun for children during the half-term break, but also educational.
“Gunner went down brilliantly with children and parents alike, and it was brilliant to see and hear the children bring the stories to life.”
Lois Hyett, Gunner’s owner and volunteer at Therapy Dogs Nationwide, said: “Gunner has been a therapy dog since he was 11 months old. His temperament and character led me to apply to join the charity and I’m proud of all the work he has done to date to help people across the region.
“Myself and Gunner love getting out and meeting people across the region and thoroughly enjoyed our time at Nugent.”
The dog therapy event was part of a wider programme of community initiatives at Nugent this year, including the upcoming Young Reader’s Programme, in partnership with the National Literacy Trust, which will see local schools visit the centre to take part in literacy-themed storytelling sessions. Nugent has also recently joined the Dementia Action Alliance, with all staff now fully trained to support shoppers living with dementia.
In recognition of this, Nugent’s centre manager, Tina Powley, has received an award from British Land for her work in the community. The centre has also been recognised with a gold customer service accreditation in the British Land Excellence Awards.