Officers’ Training School (OTS) welcomes Radar the soon-to-be therapy dog into their classrooms to help relieve students of stress, anxiety and homesickness.
Flight Lieutenant (FLTLT) Stephanie Hume is Radar’s trainer, and a Directing Staff member at OTS. She said the two-year-old German Shorthair Pointer Cross was a natural at loving people and he adapted to the role of therapy-dog-under-training extremely well.
“Radar is very smart and his temperament is super relaxed, affectionate and extremely lazy. He copes well in noisy environments and doesn’t mind being poked, prodded or patted by anyone. He will happily interact with different people, especially the students when I am there.”
“Radar and I are currently working toward becoming therapy volunteers. In order to become fully qualified, Radar needs to undergo training which includes sitting quietly, walking next to wheelchairs or walking devices, as well as being exposed to as many people, smells, sights and sounds as possible.”
“Visiting OTS creates a lot of fantastic training opportunities for Radar, as he can interact with people from all walks of life, while he gets used to different noises and smells in preparation for undertaking therapy training.”
FLTLT Hume decided to introduce Radar to students after she felt inspired by the volunteers and dogs that travel to retirement villages and nursing homes to generate happiness amongst elderly people.
“Our students spend over four months away from home, in what to many is an extremely foreign environment. During the training, they have exams and assignments which can create a great deal of stress.”
“I see Radar’s role as a reminder of home and normality. Radar listens to people without judgement and always loves everyone unconditionally, and this provides a great deal of comfort and joy to students.”
“I noticed that when students are engaged with Radar, they forget everything that’s going on in their lives and just feel happy being around the dog. The positive effect Radar has on staff and students is infectious and I am very proud of Radar! ”
Many OTS students described Radar coming to work as the best part of their week.
“Radar has become a member of our course, and the rest of the OTS family. I always know when he’s coming down the corridor because I hear people get excited,” said FLGOFF Amy Richardson, a student from 03/19 Officer Initial Course.
“He’s a lovely reminder, in what is such a busy and sometimes stressful environment, to stop and take a minute out of the day away from work. Radar has been a great morale booster for our course, so I hope other students get to enjoy time with Radar in the future.”
Radar is currently visiting OTS once a week and can make 2-3 guest appearance a week if required.