Visits from pooches brings smiles

Don and Helen Fleming and their dogs, Missy and Eva bring joy to patients and their families at the Murdoch Community Hospice.

Don and Helen Fleming and their dogs, Missy and Eva bring joy to patients and their families at the Murdoch Community Hospice.

Volunteers from the not-for-profit organisation Animal Companions bring their dogs to the Murdoch Community Hospice each week to give patients some joy and comfort.

Husband and wife team Don and Helen Fleming bring their Labradors Missy and Eva to provide a positive distraction for patients.

“We really appreciate the opportunity afforded to us to spend time lifting a person’s spirits, even if it is only for a short while,” Don says.

“The “girls”, as we call them, get heaps of attention and affection, often not only from the patients, but also hospice staff, family members and friends who are visiting when we arrive.”

Day Hospice Services Coordinator Kathy Parr says the service is very much appreciated by patients and their families.

“We really see a difference in people when the dogs come through the doors,” Kathy says.

“They bring joy and levity in what is a difficult time in people’s lives.”

Animal Companions visits facilities throughout the Perth metropolitan area. The majority of facilities are Retirement Centres, but visits are also made to palliative care facilities, psychiatric units, schools, treatment centres and hospitals.

The dogs are screened, vaccinated and trained to ensure they have what it takes to visit these facilities.

Please visit www.aciwa.org.au for more information on Animal Companions in Perth.

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