~ Mercedes and Rocco ~
Two years ago, Labradoodle pup, Rocco, was adopted by Mercedes. Since then, he has become a therapy dog and helps children in New Zealand with their reading.
In 2019, Rocco joined the MentorEd Trust after becoming a fully-trained therapy dog through New Zealand Therapy Dogs. MentorEd was founded by Mercedes. They provide trained volunteer mentors for children facing certain challenges in life. One of the main tasks they help with is reading. Simply having Rocco sitting there and offering reassurance has helped many children. Unsurprisingly, Rocco is the team’s most popular volunteer!
Rocco was a natural at helping people feel at ease and bringing joy to all who met him. Because of this, he has made a great addition to MentorEd. He visits schools in New Zealand five times per week as part of the ‘Reading With Rocco’ programme.
Having Rocco has helped many of the children they visit to open up and feel more relaxed than they may feel around other people. Children can pet Rocco’s soft, curly coat as they read and he is happy to listen to them if they have anything they would like to talk about. It can have a huge impact on many of the kids they work with. Petting him can help calm the children, as well. Seeing him always brightens their day!
Whenever Mercedes brings Rocco into a reading session, the children’s faces instantly brighten. Seeing him brings them so much happiness and joy. Not only does it may the children happy, but Rocco very much enjoys the attention and love he always receives!
It is evident how much of an impact both Mercedes and Rocco have had on their community. The love they have for each other is also very strong. No matter what may happen in the day and what challenges they hear of, they know that they have one another.