The Daffodil Cottage Pet Therapy program is once again putting the call out for volunteers following the reopening of Daffodil Cottage after its recent expansion and refurbishment.
Volunteers and their dogs visit the Cottage on Wednesdays for one to two hours to spend time with the cancer patients.
The therapeutic benefits animals provide to humans have long been documented, and many health facilities host therapeutic and companion animals in visiting patients.
“Patients undergoing cancer treatment can benefit greatly from having some contact with an animal, both physically and emotionally,” Desiree Burgess, Daffodil Cottage Nurse Unit Manager said.
“These include lowered stress and anxiety, less loneliness and often a decreased need for pain medication. The patient’s family and carers, as well as the medical staff treating the patient, can also benefit from having an animal around.
Daffodil Cottage Pet Therapy Program Volunteer Coordinator Mindy O’Leary, who takes her border collies Maggie and Wilson into Daffodil Cottage, said both she and her pets enjoy their time there as much as the patients and staff.
Maggie and Wilson were generously gifted to the Pet Therapy Program by Duszah Border Collies from Bumbaldry near Cowra.
“I really encourage other people to get involved in the program as it’s so rewarding to see the benefit the dogs have on the patients,” she said.
Of course, not all dogs are suitable for the Program. All dogs must be temperament tested before commencing with the Program and this service is kindly offered by the Durham Street Vet Clinic free of charge.
“Dogs should be well socialised, vaccinated and health checked by a vet too,” Mindy said.
Patients are able to visit the dogs in the courtyard, where fresh food, drink and shelter is provided for the dogs. Volunteers will also walk the dogs so that they can be toileted away from the courtyard safely and cleanly.
Daffodil Cottage has policy and protocol around local infection control and hand hygiene for the Pet Therapy Program.
To find out more or to register please phone Mindy on 0438 800 544.