Interview with Thunder the Therapy dog and his owner.
Thu 09 Dec 2021
FIVE MINUTES WITH THUNDER and his owner Adrian. Interviewed by Miss Karpinska.
The other day we sat down with Adrian and Thunder from Therapy Huskies. Thunder is one of the ‘Awesome Foursome’ that tour the country touching the hearts of hundreds of people living with dementia, bereavement, loneliness, autism, cancer, sensory-impairment, mental health and so much more. Here at Outwood Academy Hemsworth we are fortunate enough to add Thunder and Adrian to our ever growing Outwood family. Without further ado ladies and gentlemen, Thunder and Adrian.
Miss Karpinska: Good morning to you both thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to sit down with us.
Adrian:Morning, not a problem at all. It’s a pleasure.
1. I’m just going to dive right into it and get started. So, first question, what do you do?
Adrian: Thunder is a therapy dog who is used for distraction and diffusion techniques within education, the NHS, the prison service and anywhere else where people might suffer with mental health issues. During our sessions with the children Thunder acts as a great diffusion tool, breaking down the barriers between the child and the adult, this allows the child to feel confident, to be able to speak their mind, their concerns and their fears. Thunder has the ability when in close body contact, cuddles, to slow his heart rate and breathing as he does in his ‘End of Life’ work, this relaxes the child, giving a very calming influence in a very safe environment. Thunder promotes positivity through empathy and unconditional love.
2. Where does he live?
Adrian:He lives in a house at the seaside with his brother, his sister and his mummy in Hornsea and they go down to the beach about four times a day and walk up to 15 miles.
3. What does he eat? And please do not just say dog food!
Adrian:He doesn't eat dog food. Thunder eats frozen chicken breast and frozen steak primarily as he can’t have salmonella and is allowed to kiss people and lick their hands, we do always encourage thorough antibacterial washing after contact. Thunder also has an organic antibacterial spray on his fur, his paws, even his bottom to ensure as clinical hygiene contact as possible.
4. I think we already know the answer to this but who’s his favourite person?
Adrian:It's gotta be me! Surely it's gotta be me! I’d be so upset if it wasn't his daddy!
5.Where does he sleep?
Adrian:Next to me and then he kicks me out of bed during the night, he’s such a scamp.
6. You have already answered this but does he have any brothers or sisters?
Adrian:He’s got a brother called Thor, a sister called Binny Boo and his mum is called Stormy.
7. What are the benefits of what you do? What benefits have you seen?
Adrian:Great calming effects. We are hoping to up the attendance of children who have not been attending school, get them in, give them the understanding, give them the one to one time which they lack not because there is anything wrong with the education system just the fact that when you are a teacher you are looking after 20-30 children at a time you physically can't do that. We are bridging that gap with these children, finding out what are their issues and if we can help them to get them back into mainstream again.
8.How often does he get a haircut?
Adrian:He doesn't have a hair cut as such he gets brushed every single day for work and then he has big brushes at the weekend. Once a month we do a big brush which is all four dogs. The only thing we trim on Thunder is his paws and around his bottom for hygiene reasons, everything else is just brushed.
9. Who's the most famous person he has met?
Adrian:Santa, he has worked with him in several outlets and schools giving children such happy memories.
10. So Thunder has his own books doesn't he?
Adrian:He does, ‘Thunder’s Adventures’. I’ve written Thunder's Christmas one which will be out for next Christmas. It is just finding time to finish everything and at the moment I am still writing ‘Thunder and The Circus Bear’. Current sales of ‘Thunder and the stray’ and ‘Thunder and the Kitty smugglers’ have gone really well with schools, they can be obtained from www.thunderworld.co.uk
11. You write them all I assume?
Adrian:Yes I write them all. I draw the initial pictures and I have an illustrator, we also have a lady who looks after proof reading and then Thunder does the publishing.
12. What's his favourite food?
Adrian:It's got to be chicken but his absolute favourite favourite is red Babybels.
13. Dogs do like cheese don't they?
Adrian:That's all he’s been eating today, he has a little strip of the Cathedral ones. If I eat it then he eats it and then he takes over eating it, but I cannot show him a red Babybel whilst he is working. If I do, he stops working and he will just give in and think I want that Babybel. So when he gets in the van before and on his way home I will break it into four and give him a Babybel and he knows he’s finished work then. Everybody buys him Babybels, he has bags of them in the fridge, only the red ones though he doesn't like the blue ones.
14. What does he do when he’s off duty?
Adrian:We play! We go to the beach, we go running up and down the beach, play in the garden, we do zoomies, he has zoomies all over the house and he plays with his brother and sister.
15. What's his favourite toy?
Adrian:Toys? They're not really too fussed about toys. He does have a little ball that he carries around that lights up but huskies are really clever, if you throw a ball they'll just say ‘you fetch it’. He loves squeakies, anything that squeaks he loves because it’s like a rodent in distress.
16. How old is he?
Adrian:He is now eight, he was eight this week.
17. How long has he been a therapy dog?
18. So he wasn't bred to be a therapy dog?
Adrian:No, he found dementia in my dad and that's how it started. I was a professional photographer and it just absolutely snowballed from there right up to now where we are doing it five days a week. Everybody is wanting Thunder right now and the other dogs, we cannot work them all at the same time because it is too much.
19. What breed is he?
Adrian:Wooly Siberian Husky.
20. What's the difference between him and a normal husky?
Adrian:Well he is a lot bigger and has a longer coat. The temperament is completely different as well, Thunder is very calm, nothing really gets to him.
21. How did he get into therapy? You mentioned your dad?
Adrian:Yes well he found dementia in my dad. My dad died two years ago with dementia but he was with my dad all the way through it and he used to go up and lick my dad's temple all the time. He knew something was wrong before anybody knew. We also used to go to dementia units and when people started stroking Thunder they started telling me stories and then the families would go ‘I didn't know my dad did that’, ‘I didn't know my mum did that’ so I wrote all their stories and pictures and we had an exhibition about dementia and how people cope with dementia. All because of Thunder.
22. Does he have a Christmas jumper?
Adrian:Next week he will be wearing a Christmas bandana with a white collar, red and a bell on the end.
Miss Karpinska: That sounds amazing, I can't wait to see it. Thank you so much for sitting down with us and hope you have a Merry Christmas, a fabulous New Year and we shall see you in 2022!