Pats, hugs, tears and smiles” 

 Julie and Max

Name: Julie Ivison and Max

Type of dogs: CockerSpaniel

Location: Queensland

Visits: Aged care

Volunteering: 6 years

Enjoys most: Seeing  sad and vacant faces, smile.

Dog enjoys:  Shaking hands with the residents

Reaction: Pats, hugs, tears and smiles.

Experiences: I visit an Alzheimer’s’ Nursing Home and the residents’ disabilities range from mild to severe mental and physical disabilities.  Max and I therefore have many challenges in communicating with the residents, but we usually can with varying degrees of effort. One of our most outstanding examples was that of ‘Evelyn’ who was invariably either screaming or lying silent and unresponsive.  From the photos surrounding her bed, ‘Evelyn’ had obviously been a horsewoman of some distinction and so her current incapacity was particularly poignant. After about six months of trying to communicate, ‘Evelyn’ one day looked at us and uttered a grunt to a question.  This was a truly overwhelming experience which we managed to repeat, with increasing intensity, until the day when we found ‘Evelyn’s bed empty and her name plate missing.  She was never able to pat ‘Max’ but we knew that she would have wanted to, had she been able. 

Every visit is different; we have known some residents for the entire six years that we have been visiting, and so we have built up quite a solid relationship; others we know for only a matter of weeks or months.  I am very grateful to Delta to have had the opportunity to participate in something which allows me to share my wonderful canine companions.


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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