The patient is blind and did not ever show emotion.  The moment he felt Leah’s fur he smiled and continued to do so.”
 Lesley Westerweller &  Leah  
Name: Les Westerweller & Leah

Type of dog: Greyhound

Location: New South Wales

Visits: Aged care; Hostel

Volunteering: 3 years

Why: It is difficult to state one reason that we do this work. I guess it began when an old mate of mind went into a hostel and I would take Leah to visit him and in doing so could see the pleasure it gave him and the people that lived with him. It was after this that I applied to Delta.   It gives me pleasure to speak with the older people and to hear the life stories that have made out country and to see the courage of those that left their country to come to Australia.  I also enjoy the smiles on their faces as Leah walks up to them and places her head near their hand to allow them to pat her.

Enjoys most: The people

Dog enjoys:  The people and the occasional biscuit she can persuade them to give her 

Reaction: Leah is a greyhound and the people often relate their experiences with these dogs, either as a racing dog or as a feature in their suburb or town during their younger days.  They seem to get a great pleasure to be able to pat, kiss and hold her. The staff always enjoy her visit as I feel that it lifts their day as they see people come to life and talk of their past. The staff are always kind and line up to pat her.

Experiences:  There are two stories that come to mind…

The first was on the initial visit. The Lady in charge was showing me around and as we approached a man in a wheel chair she said to me that this man cannot speak, Leah approached him and he patted her head, I was standing at lead length as the Lady was telling me about the next person to visit when the man began talking to Leah.  For the many visits following this he spoke to Leah but never spoke to others.

The second story is of a similar nature but once again was a surprise to all.  I was walking up to a bed when the Matron said Ken is blind and he does not ever show emotion his face never changes.  We walked up to the bed and spoke to the man but he failed to answer or show and sign that he knew we were next to him.  I placed my arm on the bed and called Leah to jump up on a section of the bed so the man could feel her.  The moment he felt the fur and rubbed her side he smiled and continued to do so.  After that for every visit the staff would crowd around to see this man smile.

On the down side is the number of people that we visit and watch them slowly fall apart.  A lot of these people become friends and strange as it may seem remember Leah but don’t remember their own families.

It a pleasure to do the work of Delta



Delta Society Australiais proud of all our Therapy Dogs. If you and your dog would like to become a Pet Partner visiting team, please read here.

Delta rely on donations and bequests to keep our important therapy programs going. If you would like to donate to Delta, please visit donations and bequests.

Visit the Delta website.

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