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Brando is the canine companion of Kids First dietitian, Lauren Hogg.
As cute and friendly as he looks, Brando also plays an important clinical role because together with his ‘boss’, Lauren, he helps children to build trust, self-esteem and the courage to talk about tough topics, such as their worries about food.
Brando is a very effective ‘social lubricant’ and many children find it easier to talk about big feelings, worries and problems in his comforting presence.
International studies have shown that the inclusion of animals in therapeutic settings can make a big difference to the outcomes that children can achieve. For example, animals have been shown to:
- Support people with Autism Spectrum Disorder symptoms to build more positive social interactions and communication skills
- Help children with behavioural problems such as verbal resistance, aggression, violence & compliance with rules by giving immediate feedback that helps them to better manage their responses
- Assist children and young adults experiencing issues such as anxiety, fear and depression by providing opportunities for positive interactions that build emotional well-being and self-esteem
Brando knows when he is ‘on duty’ and helps Lauren to provide a sense of calm, comfort and safety in her dietetics and food therapy sessions.
Brando (and Lauren!) work at Kids First on Mondays.