ABOUT

Roz Rimes - Founder

Speaker, educator, coach and founder of social enterprise ‘Live with Zest’.

She works with her Australian Labradoodles Flash and Rafa who have advanced Canine-Assisted Therapy qualifications. Roz’s unique ‘Walk, Talk, Savour’ coaching practice aims to improve well-being across diverse populations.  She holds a Master of Applied Positive Psychology and a Master of Education Policy (International) from the University of Melbourne. Roz is a member of the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA) and the Positive Education Schools Association (PESA) and her work aligns with PESA’s vision.

 

Roz and Flash have been a volunteer therapy team for over eight years, soothing and strengthening patients at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, (Rehabilitation, Mental Health and Eating Disorders) and now St Vincent’s Private Hospital. After observing so many life enhancing transformations as a result of Canine-Assisted Therapy, Roz decided to pursue a Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) at the University of Melbourne. Her work is informed by wellbeing science and focusses on Savouring fortified by Canine-Assisted Education and how this powerful combination can successfully increase wellbeing. 

 

According to Bryant and Veroff (2007) Savouring is a process used by people to intentionally amplify positive experiences and therefore positive emotions; it can be past, present or future focussed. The efficacy of Savouring is recognised by several scholars including Professor Lea Waters in Australia, Dr Ilona Boniwell in the UK/Europe and Associate Professor Acacia Parks in the USA, the scientist behind the Happify App. Roz uses the same savouring techniques employed by the Berry Street Education Model (BSEM) such as: Sharing with others, Memory-building, Self-congratulation and Sharpening perceptions to build positive emotions and increase stamina for learning. 

 

Canine-Assisted Education (CAE) is an Animal-Assisted Intervention (AAI) where the dog’s role is to follow the directions of the handler/educator to engage with the client in order to achieve the educational intervention goals (Jones, Rice & Cotton, 2018). Roz’s practice is informed by Lead the Way Institute’s Neurobiological Model of Animal-Assisted Therapy. Jones et al., (2018) describe that “…the presence of a friendly dog (provided the individual likes dogs), can improve engagement and rapport, and reduce anxious arousal. For example, interaction with a therapy dog may reduce the impact of social exclusion on mental well-being…and anxiety associated with stressful situations.” (p. 196) 

 

Jones et al., (2018) also refer to optimal interaction times (5-24 minutes) and physiological benefits such as “…including a reduction in stress physiology (e.g. cortisol and blood pressure) and an increase in ‘affiliative’ hormones (including oxytocin)”. This can positively affect rapport and engagement, thus help children and young people be ready to learn. Self-regulation can improve via immediate behavioural feedback, for example the dog’s potent nose smells cortisol, predicts arousal states and alerts the dog handler who is also the interventionist. In addition, improved social skills and relational repair can take place via the establishment of deeper connections especially mirror neurons. 

 

Roz and Flash have worked with a wide range of primary, secondary and tertiary students. They enquire and are happily briefed by education leaders and staff about the needs of the students/young people on a particular day. The dogs are visually appealing, calming and entertaining to watch. Non gendered care giving is encouraged for example boys and young men can gently stroke the dog. The dogs can have a beneficial school wide effect on staff, parents, caregivers and friends through the students’ storytelling (positive reminiscences). 

 

Early evidence suggests that as a result of the Canine Assisted Education and Savouring there is an increase in cognitive development through stamina for learning, improved empathy (for self and others) and increased sociability through increased eye contact, greetings, improved tone of voice, use of praise and encouragement, and frustration tolerance. 

 

Roz’s work was included in the 2017 IPPA World Congress Poster session. She recently created the ‘Walk, Talk, Savour’ Coaching practice which will be presented at the 2019 IPPA World Congress. Passionate about sharing her knowledge and skills she has presented to various MAPP cohorts, at the 2018 Positive Education Schools Association (PESA) National Conference and 2017 PESA State Conference and her stories are featured in Professor Lea Waters’ bestselling parenting book ‘The Strength Switch’. 

 

References 

Bryant, F. B., & Veroff, J. (2007). Savoring : a new model of positive experience / Fred B. Bryant, Joseph Veroff: Mahwah, N.J. : Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers. 

Jones, M.G., Rice, S.M., Cotton, S.M., (2018) Who let the dogs out? Therapy dogs in clinical practice. Australasian Psychiatry, Vol 26(2) 196-199.
doi: 10.1177/1039856217749056 

 

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 


CANINE QUALIFICATIONS:

 

Flash the Australian Labradoodle

 

•  RSPCA Pet Dog Manners Certificate

•  National Canine Good Citizen Award

•  Lead the Way Foundation Animal-Assisted Intervention and Therapy Dog Certification

•  Lead the Way Animal-Assisted Therapy Advanced Canine Applications Certificate

•  15 tricks!

 

Rafa the Australian Labradoodle

•  Lead the Way Foundation Animal-Assisted Intervention and Therapy Dog Certification

•  Lead the Way Animal-Assisted Interventions, Advanced Canine Interventions

•  5 tricks!