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Hospital Gets Fury Friend

September 9, 2020

They are often said to be the most intelligent of all dogs. Used traditionally for herding livestock, border collies can learn a very large number of signals and commands. They are eminently trainable. Now, that intelligence is to be applied to the area of therapy, as one Zagreb children’s hospital prepares to welcome its first border collie as a member of the team.

Still only a puppy, Jupi is being prepared for the role by her owner, Iva Zečević, a clinical psychologist at the Psychiatric Hospital for Children and Adolescents. At the moment, Jupi still needs to get her jabs, go for training and pass a therapy dog exam, Iva revealed to Jutarnji List journalist Lada Novak Starčević in a recent interview.

Iva is undertaking the training herself with help from puppy coach Ana Odak and The Croatian Association for the Training of Guide Dogs and Mobility. Iva decided to dedicate herself personally to the task because she knows the Zagreb Children’s Hospital where she works would struggle to pay for a fully trained therapy dog. Despite the time and costs involved in the necessary process, Iva has previously seen the positive effects dogs can have on her patients and knows it’s a worthwhile undertaking. She is an experienced dog owner and has kept and trained several, although this is the first she has trained as a therapy dog.

Border collies are so clever that they thrive best in households that can give them lots of play and exercise. It is a British breed of dog, taking its name from the sheep farming lands which are situated on both sides of the Anglo-Scottish border. The word collie comes from the old Celtic word for useful. All of today’s purebred border collies can trace an ancestral line back to one dog. Old Hemp lived in Northumberland between 1893 and 1901 and was so skilled in his work with sheep, as well as having exactly the right temperament, that many shepherds used him as a stud for their future working dogs. Old Hemp is believed to have sired as many as 200 puppies to be reared as sheepdogs.

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