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Manningham Centre

Manningham Centre in Doncaster is a not-for-profit organisation that provides aged care services to the seniors of Manningham, be they residential or community services. They’re also one of the Lort Smith’s longest standing receivers of Pet Therapy visits. Here, Tanya Warms, the Manningham Centre Volunteer Coordinator, takes time out to chat about the facility and the importance of Pet Therapy to their residents.

“Some of our residents have late-stage dementia and their ability to react to the usual activities and stimuli such as music and conversation is limited,” explains Tanya.

“However, we find that they react favourably to the pets because animals are not only familiar but also provide the total sensory experience: they are visually appealing, provide great tactile sensation and also a familiar sound when they bark or sniffle.”

It is little wonder then, that emerging research on pet therapy is pointing to the ability of dogs to boost health and general well-being, especially in the elderly.

Tanya says that when Lort Smith Pet Therapy volunteers come in to visit the residents of Manningham Centre, there’s an increase in communication as the residents reminisce, “Pets are usually associated with pleasant memories and we find that positive emotions are re-engaged when a resident has contact with a pet.”

Some unresponsive residents change completely in the presence of an animal.

“We had the experience of a resident who became very lively when she held a Lort Smith [Pet Therapy] dog.”

“The resident has a very short attention span”, explains Tanya.  “When a Lort Smith [Pet Therapy] dog comes around, she sits and chats and pats the dog and attends for much longer than she does with any other sort of activity.”

It’s these kinds of regular break-throughs with the recipients of the Lort Smith Pet Therapy program which really make a difference to residents, patients and clients of the facilities we work with. 

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