Canine role model for rookie's hospital visit

THERE were plenty of sights, sounds and smells to explore for Warrnambool Base Hospital’s newest canine visitor.

Crumpet the rookie therapy dog and owner Eve Grant provided some much-needed comfort to patients after a year of vigorous training and accreditation. 

Veteran therapy dog Mawson and owner Shannon McKay, who had visited the hospital for three years, were close behind to show the rookies the ropes and provide support on their first visit.

As part of the Delta Society therapy dogs program, the lovable pooches visit patients weekly to provide a welcome distraction to those battling illness and injury. 

“Everyone loves their visits,” Ms McKay said.

“A lot of patients that are in rehab or palliative care and are going to be here for a while begin to look forward to the dogs visiting.

“We even had one lady who began to keep Schmackos in her drawer as she was looking forward to their visits.”

South West Healthcare community partnerships manager Suzan Morey said the therapy dogs were invaluable to base hospital patients.

“The visits provide a great distraction but they’re also very therapeutic and allow people to forget about their daily grind and other problems,” Ms Morey said 

“The dogs love it, the patients love it and so do the staff. It really is a win-win situation.”

The Delta Society which runs the therapy dogs program asks each facility they visit to donate $500 to help ensure the program continues.

South West Healthcare is looking for a sponsor to fund the weekly Delta dogs’ visits to the palliative care and rehabilitation units, with sponsors already secured for weekly visits to the extended care inpatients unit and paediatric unit.

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