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Meet Sprout.  Barrel-chested and muscular, he looks like the canine equivalent of a beefy nightclub bouncer. One to be wary of, perhaps.

Sprout has the distinctive egg shaped head and triangular eyes of the English Bull terrier

Yet Sprout is a much loved visitor at several of Petersfield’s care homes, as well as a mental health support worker at the University of Surrey.

Sprout sitting alert for a treat i front of colourfully painted planters and chairs in Lizzie's garden.
Sprout has missed out on human company during lockdown, much like all of us, and will be gently easing back to work.

As an English Bull Terrier, he’s something of a “one off”, being the only one of his breed to be registered as a therapy dog with Pets as Therapy, the UK charity.

Black and white Sprout and his much smaller, predominately white half sister Lettuce sit on a rug waiting for a treat.
Sprout is considerably larger than his half sister, Lettuce, who is more typical of the breed in both size and temperament.

How did this come to pass? Owner Lizzie Strickland explains to Dogs with Jobs presenter Kate Fairweather how Sprout recovered from an operation that went horribly wrong, overcame his resulting disability and now brings comfort and joy to many people in the Petersfield community through his voluntary work.

Lizzie holds a chew for Sprout, who is gazing at her with front right paw off the ground in front of a cast iron bath filled with water in Lizzie's garden.
Sprout at home with owner, Lizzie, whose unstinting support has helped him to help others

Find out more about volunteering with Pets as Therapy from Patricia Bland, the Petersfield area coordinator.

Do you work your dog?

If you would consider talking about your dog or dogs to Kate Fairweather, please get in touch! Email us at team@shineradio.uk. Sporting dogs, service dogs, assistance dogs, the more the merrier!