Therapy dogs will be used to help young people deal with problems under a scheme to be launched by youth mental health group Headspace.
Emily Smith, the clinical lead for Headspace Orange, said they would be adapting a scheme used in Sydney for Orange.
Ms Smith said that rather than people having to pay for the dog and look after it the dog would work at Headspace.
“They’ll just come in and have interaction with the dog,” she said.
“The dog is owned by someone, it will be like the dog goes to work and goes home at the end of the day.”
She said the capital city programs had shown that young people could benefit from interaction with a therapy dog.
“The dog enhances the therapy process,” she said.
“They are calming, the dogs are trained to be accepting and gentle.”
She said they wanted the scheme to start as soon as possible.
Headspace organised the Bark in the Park event at Northcourt on Sunday that attracted owners and their dogs for an information day, training exercises and interaction.
Kelly Routh attended with her assistance dog Pippa.
Under a different scheme to that proposed by Headspace Miss Routh has been with Pippa for nearly two years.
She said she had post traumatic stress disorder [PTSD] and Pippa had helped build up her confidence.
“I got her as a 12 week old puppy from a breeder, she’s two next month,” she said.
Miss Routh said under the Mind Dog program she linked up with a trainer in Orange.
“She’s helped me have a normal life,” she said.
“I take her shopping, all the staff in Big W know her.”
Miss Routh said previously she would not have had the confidence to attend an event like Bark in the Park but Pippa was a valuable aid.
“It is helping a lot,” she said.
Several organisations had stalls and representation at the Bark in the Park event including the RSPCA and the Animal Welfare League.
Guests include Australian Pet Dog Trainer of the Year Deb Coleman, as well as TAFE Animal Services and other representatives from the pet industry.