“I know I’m gorgeous,” chuckles Danni Carrera Beanz.
“But looks aren’t that important to me. I’m more of a thinking type. And a digging type. Yes! Digging holes, now that is special!”
Danni digs, but she has plenty more to offer than just holes in the ground.
She is a “therapy dog”.
And her human, Edith Kriel of Jelly Beanz, is also a therapist.
TygerBurger chatted to the two recently about the “therapy dog” initiative by the Table View-based non-profit organisation that gives hope to children affected by trauma and abuse.
Edith was easier to understand, primarily because of her ability to speak.
“We called her Danni so a child could see her as a boy or a girl,” says Edith. “As part of Danni’s work, children might project their own issues onto her, so they can choose what they want Danni to be.”
Danni, who has been involved in playful tug-of-war with a rope, stops briefly and tilts her head quizzically.
“So I’m a kind of quasi-gender 11-month-old Newfoundland dog? It has a ring to it. Yes… I can see where you’re going with this, human!”
She grabs the rope again and grapples with it.
Edith continues: “Her surname, Beanz, is self-explanatory, and her middle name comes from the Porche Carerra model. Porche were our initial sponsors.”
Danni is still undergoing obedience training, but she has already left her mark on Jelly Beanz.
Not on the carpet, no.
“We went to a school recently and talked about how dogs could be used in work, such as police dogs. After the assembly a little girl went to her teacher and told her about trauma in her own life, something she has never told anyone before. The girl then asked the teacher if she could go talk to Danni about it – and the lady who belongs to Danni. I become sort of insignificant, because Danni is now the drawcard,” explains Edith.
Danni puts his paw on Edith and yips: “There, there human. You are also important. I don’t know what I would do if there weren’t someone to scratch my tummy every day.”
Edith adds inaudibly: “ss…sss….sss..s”
“Excuse me?” I ask while Danni cocks one of her ears.
Edith speaks a little louder: “She also likes food…”
Danni sits bolt upright and pants: “You said ‘food’. I heard that!”
The dog looks at me insistently.
“Did you hear that? My human just said ‘food’! I like it, yes! Delicious food… Yummy!”
On the website yourpurebredpuppy.com, the Newfoundland is described as being “calm, dignified, and generally quiet”.
They forgot to add the conditional clause “as long as you don’t mention food”.
“She loves her pellets and eats a relatively large amount of food every day… So we would love it if someone helped us sponsor her food for a while,” says Edith
She adds that Absolute Pets in Parklands sponsor Danni’s grooming twice a month.
Danni barks: “When has the discussion of food suddenly fallen off the agenda?”
Edith pretends she doesn’t hear Danni.
“The most important aspect is, of course, the role Danni will be playing at Jelly Beanz. If a child sees Danni make a mistake then it’s a very useful place to begin a conversation about how we all make mistakes, how we manage it and how people respond to it.
“Also, just having an animal there for the children is comforting. Danni is my co-therapist,” elaborates Edith.
“Yes, yes,” says Danni, nodding her head in agreement.
“I’m a therapist food indeed. I do, after all, love children and definitely want to food whenever I can. At times like this I am reminded of my favourite Frederic Weatherly song.”
Danni howls melodiously: “Oh Danni boy, the food, the food is calling…”
Edith concludes: “Yes, we use food to motivate her.”
A motivated dog indeed!