“…she seems to know that she can be more excited around them, dances and has a bit of a game whereas with the older residents she is more calm.”


Name: Cheryl & “Sasha” Knight

Type of dog: Labrador

Location: New South Wales

Visits: Aged care

Volunteering: 4 years

Why: I like to give something back to the community as I am now retired.

Enjoys most: Seeing the pleasure we can give to older people some of whom have very few visitors.  Those that have had dogs relate very well and tell stories of their dogs and what their names were etc.

Dog enjoys:  My dog is a Labrador so she enjoys the treats that the residents save for her and as much as I ask that she doesn’t have biscuits the less they listen.  I take carrot sticks for her as she loves them and she now knows who gives her biscuits and who gives her carrots, she is smart.

Reaction: When I arrive there is a chorus of here is “Sasha”, how are you today and they love to pat her fur and the staff make a big fuss and get her all excited especially the very able bodied staff and she seems to know that she can be more excited around them… and dances and has a bit of a game whereas with the older residents she is more calm.

Experiences: There is an elderly gentleman who “Sasha” loves to visit and she is always pulling me towards his room as she knows she is going to get a treat.  He had a dog just the same and he had told me about her many times.  After I had become friendly with him and had been visiting for about 18 months most weeks he pulled out a wad of photos, some of which were very old, a few of his dog and his home and back to the war in Europe and his wife etc.  I don’t think he has many visitors so it made us feel very special that he was prepared to share that aspect of his life.

There is another resident who is unable to get out of bed much and “Sasha” will actually get up on his bed once he lowers it for her and he gives her a big scratch and cuddle (I hate to think of the fur the nurses have to clean up afterwards but he certainly doesn’t worry).  He tells me that dogs are wonderful and so much more reliable than humans.

Perhaps on some mornings I feel I am busy and feel I will not spend too much time etc but once I get to the nursing home I don’t like to miss out on anyone who I feel will miss my visit and when I leave I feel very rewarded that I was able to make a difference to what I consider in many cases is an extremely dull life.


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