“We nearly started another War… the patients had to be separated!”
Name: Sue-Anne Paterson and Macgregor
Type of dogs: Golden Retreiver
Location: New South Wales
Volunteering: 3 years
Enjoys most: “Greg” – the minute he sees me put on my shirt he gets very excited [who says dogs can’t see colours].We present a gentle and affectionate outlet for the patients, and a chance for them to talk about themselves outside of their illness. Staff love it too- a small bit of downtime and stress reducing cuddles in a very busy and often sad hospital ward.
Dog enjoys: The attention, pats and a special treat from the ward clerk at the end of his visit
Reaction: Fabulous- a mixture of surprise, gratitude and happiness
Experiences: So many. We rarely see the same patients from week to week, but if we do it’s a wonderful connection to the outside world. There have been instances where eg. in a post head injury patient, a young man had shown no signs of movement on his right side, we approached from that side, he turned his head, and instinctively reached out to pat Macgregor…very exciting
And we are often part of the first post-op smile from a patient, which is wonderful for the patients’ family to see.
And on the down side… we nearly started another Balkan War in my last Ward. We walked into a four bed ward and this thick -accented outraged voice said ”Get that filthy animal out of here”, to which another equally heavily accented voice from across the room replied “ Not as filthy as you, you fat cow” !!!!!! It was on for young and old. Bosnia/Serbia relations not good! Was actually very funny… we quietly slipped out… the patients had to be separated!!!! Probably got better a lot faster that way.
It’s a very worthwhile thing to do, for both of us.
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