Port Macquarie dog owners are being given the opportunity to qualify their furry friends as official therapy dogs.
Headspace Port Macquarie is collaborating with W.A.G.S The Dog Program to offer the training to around ten pooches.
Therapy canines are trained to give reassurance, affection, comfort and love to vulnerable people.
Therapy dogs provide a special role in the community and training is usually only on offer in Sydney or Newcastle, said headspace office coordinator Donna Judge.
"Therapy dogs are everything," she said. "It starts conversations and helps with young people entering a new environment.
"Therapy dogs allow comfort levels to increase and they help people talk. There's no judgement.
"We want to offer this opportunity to the community because it makes such a difference.
"People love animals and it's a beautiful thing to do.
"What we ask in return is that over a period of 12 months that they will be on call to do some work for one or two hours a month with headspace."
The subsidised training is on offer for people over the age of 25, who can obtain a working with children and police check. Dogs must be at least 18 months old, desexed, have proof of vaccination, are in good physical condition and enjoy meeting new people.
Volunteers and their dogs would spend one to two hours a month to spend time with young people.
Port Macquarie-Hastings residents can book a place in the program by contacting headspace Port Macquarie or calling 6588 7302 for an info pack.
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