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Category: Volunteers

From Rescue Centre to Therapy Dog – Seamus’ Fairy-tale Ending

seamus 1


Seamus – rags to riches

Three years ago, Seamus was at the Derby RSPCA waiting for a new owner, now he cheers up local nursing home residents as a Therapy Dog and has been included in a collection of professional photos of Working Dogs.

Seamus is a 13-year-old staffy who was adopted from the Abbey Street RSPCA centre in Derby by Emma and Ben Mills-Wallace in July 2016. Seamus quickly settled into his new home, his third, and started to blossom into a loving and funny dog. Despite being abused in his first home, Seamus loved meeting new people and adored the fuss. His tail would never stop wagging! Emma, who runs a dog-friendly holiday cottage, realised that he would make a wonderful therapy dog and in May 2018 he passed his assessment with flying colours.

Seamus and Emma have been weekly visitors to a care home in their home town of Ashbourne since October 2018. They spend time talking to and interacting with residents who always look forward to weekly visits. “One of the residents loves it when I tell her Seamus’ story. As we now live on a converted farm with a large garden, the resident always says that it’s like Seamus is in a fairy-tale and this is his happy ending!”, says Emma. “It’s so wonderful when we walk into a resident’s room and see their face light up! Our regulars have always had pets of their own so being able to stroke Seamus and give him a couple of treats really cheers them up”.

A couple of months ago, Therapy Dogs Nationwide (TDN), the charity that Seamus and Emma are registered with, was approached by professional photographer Deanne Ward who was looking for models for her series of Working Dogs. Emma put Seamus forward and he was selected to take part. The photos have now been published online and it is hoped they will end up as part of an exhibition or a book.

Ruth Boyes BEM, a Trustee and volunteer with TDN adds “TDN’s wonderful volunteers and their amazing dogs visit hundreds of people every day of the year giving non-judgmental and unconditional love to everyone they visit. Many volunteers also take part in our ‘Paws and Read’ scheme whereby their dogs ‘listen’ to reluctant readers thereby giving children confidence in their reading abilities and at the same time boosting their self-confidence”.
Emma hopes that these photographs will raise awareness of the fantastic work that TDN do across the country in nursing homes, schools, hospitals, prisons and many other places. She also hopes that by sharing Seamus’ story, people will consider adopting older dogs from rescue centres, especially staffies. Despite their bad reputation, they can be the most gentle and caring breed of dogs.


If you would like more information about this story please contact Emma Mills-Wallace or Ruth Boyes.

Deanne Ward Photography specialises in fine art dog and horse photography
Seamus has his own Facebook and Instagram accounts, both @Seamusthestaffie
Emma owns and runs Oldfields Farm dog-friendly holiday cottage near Ashbourne.

#therapydog #therapydogsrock #staffie #rescuestaffie #staffordshirebullterrier

Why we do what we do, by One Eyed Jack



“A tough time for us at The Hospice yesterday. A little girl cried into my fur. Her Dad is the patient and her Mum has already died. She wrapped her arms around me told me all her troubles, my fur got all wet but I didn’t mind. I think Mum cried on the way home!”

Volunteering for TDN is very rewarding.  It is fun, exciting and you get to meet some incredible people and hear their stories.  Occasionally there are sad moments like Jack’s story but him being there was invaluable.  This is why we do what we do. #therapydogs #volunteeting #hospicecare #upthecollies

Unsung heroes of Crufts

Unsung heroes of Crufts

Did you meet Fiona & Steve at Crufts?  They were two of the first volunteers to join TDN back in 2016.  Fiona & labradoodle Inky have been visiting hospitals and residential homes in Bristol for many years.

Once a year something amazing happens…Fiona & Steve both put on their super capes over their TDN uniforms and are true heroes.  They live and breathe TDN for 6 days, yes that’s not a typo, 6 whole days.


They are the first to arrive for the set up on the Wednesday and the last to leave on Monday after the stand has been dismantled.  They are on the stand all day every day helping volunteers and potential volunteers with enquiries, keeping the trustees in order and most importantly, are at the front of the queue on the tea-run!  And, when they are not helping on the stand, they are out with our partner exhibitors collecting for us.


They are our unsung heroes of Crufts.  #crufts #therapydogsuk #therapydogsnationwide #tdnatcrufts #therapydogsrock #therapydogsofinstagram #unsungheroes #labradoodle #volunteering


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