“He is the type of dog that attracts people to him.”

 Marlene &  Paddy

Name: Marlene McKendry & Paddy

Type of dog: Labrador

Location: Queensland

Visits: Aged care

Volunteering: 2 years

Why: He is the type of dog that attracts people to him on a walk and we were always being stopped by people who wanted to talk with him and pat him. He is the type of dog that really looks at people and expects a response. It doesn’t hurt either, that he is a very handsome Labrador with a softer than normal coat.

Enjoys most: The responses we get from the residents and the understanding of staff that he can really make a difference to their lives.

Dog enjoys:  Treats – well he is a Labrador. I take my own small strips of Smackos for the residents to give him when he comes to them for a pat. (Otherwise they’d feed him whatever was for morning tea!)

Reaction: The reactions vary with each resident’s abilities. Without fail, the staff call out to me – “Have you been to see Mary yet?” Mary can be pretty demanding and the staff  know that a visit from Paddy will settle her and put her in a positive frame of mind. When Paddy comes to her door, Mary lights up and ushers us in. Woe betide anyone who interrupts his visit!

Paddy’s visit often encourages residents to share stories of their own dogs and once again they remember the love they gave and received from the pets.

Many staff stop to pat Paddy as he makes his rounds. I believe his visits are good for staff morale as well as for patients. They often comment how wonderful it is that he’s allowed to visit.

Another group that benefits is the families of residents. They love to see him and I believe the idea of a visiting dog provides another caring dimension to the facility, even if their family member is not fond of dogs.

Experiences: One man, who had a stroke, had difficulty speaking and so didn’t speak much at all – except when Paddy came to see him. He would say ‘handsome boy’, which delighted the man’s wife every time. Unfortunately, the man passed away. But on our next visit, Paddy went dutifully to the door of his room and pushed on it with his nose for me to open it.


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