This unique hunting hound was brought to Ibiza by the Phoenicians when they discovered the Island in 650BC. The dog is related to the Pharaoh Hound which dates back to ancient Egypt 3400BC. Also known as Beezers by their fanciers, they were first used as hunters, catching rabbits on the Island. When they locate their prey they stand still and point, similar to a setter.
In a ground breaking experiment in Santa Eularia, the local Ibicenco Hound has been selected by the Ibiza Hound Association, to partake in Therapy sessions for senior citizens. The aim of the unique programme is to utilise the Podenco’s intelligence, loyalty and sensibility, so that they can relate and connect to humans that are passive or low in self confidence.
Since their introduction to the in patients at the Santa Eularia Senior Residential Complex a few months ago, carers have noticed a definite increase in awareness and general well being among the residents especially with Alzheimer patients. One on One interaction with the dogs stimulates memories and antidotes as the elderly patients recall their childhood experiences with the dog.
The Therapy sessions bring a unique energy to the room and the patients all seem to light up and smile when the dogs arrive. Notably, complaints of pain and depression decrease before and after the dogs visit the center, brought there three times a month by volunteers from the Ibiza Hound Association.
As anybody who owns a dog will tell you, they have a special sense when it comes to picking up on emotions and feelings. It is heart warming to know that they can help humans when they are alone or require emotional support. The project is one of those special stories that usually gets buried beneath all the bad press that Ibiza receives.
Lets hope that the project receives all the support and attention that it deserves and that the people involved continue to benefit from its positive initiative.