Adorable puppy Domino is a hit as the new therapy dog at the Padiham Community HUB
An adorable English Springer Spaniel puppy has become the latest 'recruit' at the Padiham HUB which was set up last year to help tackle loneliness and mental illness.
Domino, who will be trained to be therapy dog to bring some comfort to people struggling with mental health issues, is already a hit at the hub in Burnley Road after her owner, Vivien Storey, who is also the hub founder, took her down for her first visit.
"Domino is here for those people who just want to come in and have a brew and sit quietly and maybe not speak to anyone," said Vivien. "It's so lovely to see her interact with people, having cuddles and being made a fuss of."
Therapy dogs are known to help people struggling with anxiety and other issues and Viv came up with the idea to introduce one at the hub when her friend's dog became pregnant. Viv said: "I thought how amazing would it be for the hub to have a therapy dog.
"Domino was the second pup to be born in the litter and she has two identical spots on her back which is where her name comes from."
The cheeky 12 week old pup is the latest addition to Viv and her husband Justin's family. They also have a dog, Buddy, and their grandson Frankie Rae has even given Domino the grand title of Lady Domino Rae.
Viv will undergo training to become a therapy dog handler but she said that Domino is already settling well into her role. She added: "She is such a loving and gentle dog, everyone has really taken to her. She is an absolute joy.”
Domino will be at the hub on regular days which will be posted on the group's social media pages.
Viv launched the hub, which offers free activities like arts and crafts sessions and vocational courses, to give people a safe place to turn to and help boost their wellbeing. The community has so far rallied around Vivien, with people volunteering to run the classes for free.
Viv was inspired to open up her own venue after successfully running a smaller version of the hub at Nazareth Unitarian Chapel for six months. She is also the founder of the Padiham Community Choir and 'Hugs for Free' where she goes around care homes to visit residents to cheer them up.
Viv said: "This has been my dream to open this hub and it has taken off better than I could have imagined."
Before Christmas, in a bid to help people cope with the cost of living crisis, Viv launched a drive for people to donate coats, hats, gloves, scarves, dressing gowns and hot water bottles.