Patients and staff at St John of God Bendigo Hospital have welcomed two news dogs as part of their pet therapy program.
Visiting both the rehabilitation unit and medical ward, golden retriever Angel and scotch collie Kaiser will now be joined on the weekly rounds by Digby, a German shepherd and Sasha, a border collie.
Pet therapy has been running at the hospital for two years and Delta Therapy Dog volunteer Mary Tuohey, who owns Angel, is delighted with the success of the initiative.
“The dogs not only benefit the patients but also the staff. They create such a warm environment,” Ms Tuohey said.
“We look for dogs with a good temperament. All the dogs are domestic but we don’t look out for specific dogs breeds. They are regularly checked and tested to make sure they are suitable or aren’t carrying anything harmful.
“It is really rewarding to see how much joy the dogs can bring.”
Patients at the hospital choose to have a visit from a dog and their owners, Joy Saffron, a current patient at St John, just loves having them around.
“They bring joy to everyone here. They are just so beautiful,” Ms Saffron said.
“The dogs act as if they own the place and are very relaxing.
“When they are here, I feel like I am at home and I don’t feel sick.”
St John hospital is looking forward to welcoming a fifth dog later in the year to their program.