Lead the Way helps Applecross resident and her dog ‘change the world one paw print at a time’


Loki and Tara Lord.
Loki and Tara Lord.
Loki and Tara Lord. Loki and Tara Lord.

APPLECROSS resident Tara Lord says she and her kelpie-cross Loki have plans to “change the world one paw print at a time”.

The 19-year-old adopted Loki from a dog shelter in February.

“When we found Loki she was perfect. I think it was meant to be, like it was planned for us,” she said.

Miss Lord is a qualified disability support and mental health worker, studying youth work and has plans to complete a double major in counselling and social work in 2019.

She and her two-year-old companion recently flew to Melbourne to complete training at Lead the Way, an organisation dedicated to providing animal-assisted therapy.

The trip provided both with new skills, with Loki now certified for animal-assisted therapy.

Through Healthcare Australia, Ms Lord and Loki will soon be regulars at homeless shelters, women’s refuges, family group homes, aged care facilities and mental health facilities, providing comfort and assistance where they can.

“The work we do is very person-centred, it’s whatever the client wants and it’s individualised which I think is what makes it so special,” she said.

“If the client just wants to cuddle with the dog they can.”

Long term, Miss Lord plans to open a ranch where the community can come for a getaway or therapy purposes.

“I have always loved animals. I’ve never really been one for going out but if it involves animals I’m there,” she said.

“I also love helping people and wanted to make a difference in the world, so why not combine the two?”

She said similar options were available in the United States and Europe, but less so in WA.

“I want it to be holistic and not just focus on the problem but getting people in touch with what they love,” she said.

“I think it would be the best job ever and a dream come true.”

You can follow their journey on Facebook (Kupu Kupu Australia) and Instagram (Loki_The_Therapy_Dog).

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