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Jacqueline and Apatche, our Pet Therapy volunteers

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Jacqueline and Apatche, our Pet Therapy volunteers 15/12/2015

Jacqueline and her little dog Apatche are Lort Smith Pet Therapy volunteers. They visit patients at The Royal Children's Hospital where Jacqueline enjoys seeing the impact Apatche has on the children.

"The children are confronted with health difficulties and challenges and it’s charming to be able to brighten up their day for a brief period," said Jacqueline.

"I’ve had parents chase me down the hallway letting me know what room their child is in, worried that I may bypass them."

"Being able to distract them with a cheerful, eager little dog is a great experience." 

Our Pet Therapy program involves volunteers and their dogs visiting hospitals, aged care facilities, disability services and other centres. All Pet Therapy dogs have been assessed and approved for this program.

The program aims to improve the wellbeing of patients and residents through positive contact with the volunteers and their dogs.

Jacqueline is one of more than 150 Pet Therapy volunteers visiting 65 facilities across Melbourne.

"One of my visits involved seeing a very sick young girl and her mother," said Jacqueline.

"At first the girl was excited to see Apatche but somewhat hesitant to pat him, so I kept him at a reasonable distance."

"It was lovely to see her confidence grow within the 20 minute visit. She was thrilled and giggling loudly that she was able to hand him a treat and receive his paw on command."

"It was lovely to make a positive contribution to a young child’s life in the midst of her health challenges." 

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