Lily

Lily loves being stroked and particularity enjoys the touch of people who are blind as they like to feel her all over to get a sense of how big she is and what she has round her neck.”

Sally & Lily

 

Name: Sally Leventis and Lily

Type of dogs: Golden Retriever

Location: Queensland

Visits: Aged care

Volunteering: 4 years

Enjoys most: I love building up relationships with residents and seeing their enjoyment when Lily walks through the door. Also, I have always enjoyed volunteering with elderly people and with Animal Welfare societies. With this type of volunteer work I can combine my passions and share my beautiful dog with elderly people and bring them joy. I know we are doing something so valuable and each week when I leave the facility, I feel so happy. One week it can just be routine, but satisfying. The next week, a marvellous reaction from a previously withdrawn resident occurs and I feel elated that Lily has touched that person.

Dog enjoys:  She is very calm and sociable and always seems to be in control of the situation. She loves being stroked and particularity enjoys the touch of people who are blind as they like to feel her all over to get a sense of how big she is and what she has round her neck etc. We go into people’s private rooms but she especially loves a busy lounge area where she almost pulls me from one person to another so she cans see everyone. A bit of “rough and tumble” doesn’t go amiss either when a more agile resident will give her a good tummy rub. Lily is so wonderful and patiently stands whilst a person with little mobility and flexibility awkwardly strokes her.

Funnily enough, when we happen to be there when there is a concert on, Lily will sometimes join in with the singing by given a huge bark just at the end of the song when things have gone quiet!

Reaction: The reaction has always been superb and I can see the enjoyment that Lily gives them. From the tears of happiness, laughter at something funny Lily does to the huge cuddles and strokes and wonderful welcome she gets. At one facility I was occasionally asked to do a “show and tell” about Lily to the residents and I would take in photos, her toys, dog books etc and talk to them about the Golden Retriever breed.

Reaction: The staff members are delighted with our visits and, in fact, one DT spoke so highly of Lily to the managers after experiencing Lily’s visits to, another signed up immediately to have us visit there.

I have also had excellent feedback from relatives, either face to face or phone calls, thanking us for our visits with information about what value Lily is giving to their elderly relatives.

Colin,Sally& Lily (from newspaper)

Experiences: We were recently invited to Colin Smith’s 90th birthday party hosted by his daughter Sharon at her Nerang home. We had been visiting Colin for nearly 3 years and had forged a very close friendship. He really missed her when we left that facility (they acquired a resident dog). Colin’s relatives had come from NZ and around Australia for the event. We were made so welcome and Lily had a great fuss made of her. Colin hadn’t seen Lily for a couple of months so there were tears all round. The most touching thing was when Colin’s daughter-in-law put up a slideshow of photos from Colin’s life and there was one of Colin, Lily and me. I felt very honoured and emotional to realise that we had become part of Colin’s life and were included as such. Colin’s daughter now brings him up to our home for afternoon tea so we have a lovely ongoing relationship which is important for all of us.

I am enjoying the experience so much that my other dog, Dougal, has just qualified and made his first visit this week. I found that I was getting concerned as there are so many people who want to see Lily, it is just impossible to get round everyone each week. I will now be able to make two visits a week which will ensure that I can see everyone who wants a visit from us.

I also enjoy the shopping mall promotions that I have been involved with and the three promotions to Japanese students that I was invited to attend.

I have done, and do, a lot of other volunteer work but this must rate as the best, most satisfying and rewarding and I never hesitate to tell people about the organisation and to try and get them involved.

Sally & Lily

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