Therapy Dogs in New Addiction Treatment Center

Deciding to go to rehabilitation is hard. It’s even harder when you have to leave your furry friends behind. Upton Road residential services decided to make the decision a little bit easier by opening up a block of kennels at its Wirral base.

They offer three months of treatment in a 32-bed house, for the people who have substance abuse problems. They are believed to be the first residential rehab in the country to allow the patients to live with their dogs while they are receiving help for their drug and alcohol addictions.

Karen Biggs, chief executive, says:

“Many people in active addiction build strong ties with their dogs. Their dogs keep them warm and safe during periods of homelessness, give them unconditional love through the worst points in their lives and a reason to keep going when all other relationships appear irrevocably damaged. We know that no matter how entrenched someone’s addiction is recovery is always possible. When people told us that they didn’t want to choose between seeking the appropriate help for their addiction and their important relationships with their dogs, we decided to do something about it and now they don’t have to choose.’’

This is most certainly a step in the right direction and showing rehabilitation in general in a new light. Here is obviously a center that cares and respects their patients and wants them to receive the best care they can offer.

In American, “rehabilitation” is such a taboo word and people are hesitant to talk about it. These difficult topics need to be transparent, and the patients coming in need to feel comfortable and at home otherwise the treatment itself could fail. If we follow in the UKs direction, we could most certainly see a decrease in substance abuse and an increase in people seeking treatment.

In the new facility the dogs will be taken care of by their owners, other patients, and trained professions. They hope by allowing the dogs to board at the facility that it would relieve some of the stress and heartache of leaving their friends behind.

Head of Residential Services in Wirral, Diane Hilton, said:

“Phoenix has been helping people into treatment for over 45 years and prides itself on breaking down barriers which stops people from accessing treatment. We treat every person who enters our services as an individual and we believe that by opening these kennels, we will be able to open the doors for many more people to receive help for drug and alcohol problems.”

They have serviced over 20,000 people in the last year. They are leading the march into a more understanding and compassionate treatment and should be emulated in as many ways as possible.

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