Lend a paw this Howl-oween Blacktown Hospital patient Betty with therapy dog Ladybelle.
Nepean Therapy Dogs trainer Paula Smith and her Cavalier Kings Charles spaniel have been volunteering is western Sydney for a year.
Nepean Therapy Dogs is appealing for sponsorship and more volunteers ahead of Halloween.
TweetFacebook Ladybelle visits Blacktown HospitalPictures: Simon BennettAn adorable medical specialist with a particular knack for helping patients feel at home visited Blacktown Hospital last week.
Adorned in herwitch costume for Halloween, Cavalier King Charles spaniel Ladybelle went from room to room in the aged care ward, leaving patients andstaff beaming.
“She’s a beautiful girl,” saidBetty. “My goodness me.”
After a couple of days in hospital, the elderly patient said Ladybelle “brightened up my day”.
Fellow patient June agreed.
“I love dogs. I inherited my son’s dog and she’s getting spoiled,” she said.
“She’s a lovely little thing, she’s always there.Animals are strange like that –always caring for you.”
The reactions are nothing new but always appreciated by Ladybelle’s handler and owner, Paula Smith.
The pair have been volunteering with Nepean Therapy Dogs for just over a year, visiting nursing homes and Western Sydney Local Health District hospitals.
“You get a lot of different responses,” Ms Smith said.
“The smaller dogs get costumes, which is always a talking point and the ladies love it, they have a laugh.
“The men usually prefer bigger dogs, but there’s always a few men with tattoos and muscles who like the dressed up dogs. People surprise you.”
Ms Smith said the highlight of her visits is seeing people forget about their worries for a while.
“It relieves a lot of stress for patients, it’s very comforting. It’s a way to normalise a hospital stay and reset the stresses.
“It’s a moment to forget about what they’re upset about and that helps with the healing process.”
Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospitals’ general manager Sue-Anne Redmond agrees. Shesaid when thedogsvisit thehospitals, some doctors have noticed instant improvements in a patient’s wellbeing.
“The adorable brown eyes always put smiles on people’s faces,” Ms Redmond said.
The organisation is currentlyappealing for donations so they can continue to visit westernSydney hospitals and nursing homes. Theyhave recently added Westmead Hospital to their rounds; a massive undertakingwhich requires finding new volunteers and training more dogs.
“Halloween is a special time where children wear scary masks and costumes and eats lots of lollies, sowe dress the dogs in ghoulish costumes which delight and surprise children and adults,”Nepean Therapy Dog president Nicole Celeban said.
“We’re asking anyone who is planning a Halloween party to help raise money for the Nepean TherapyDogs, who are making a difference to the health and wellbeing of people in our local communities.
“All our volunteers are unpaid staff and the dogs love meeting and getting affection from the patients, staffand visitors.”
The registered charity is hoping to raise more than $5000 this Halloween.All donations over $2 are tax deductible and go towardthe costs of petrol, uniforms and training.
To assist, register your Halloween party, officemorning tea or backyard BBQ at givenow南京夜网419论坛, nominate Nepean Therapy Dogs as your charity, and get your friends to donate or sponsor your activity.