Jo has been volunteering with the Lort Smith Pet Therapy Program since 2015. Mia is her seven-year-old Staffy cross kelpie.
Carrying typical kelpie traits, Mia likes to keep busy. She readily gives high fives, collects the mail and newspaper from the letterbox, enjoys showing off her twirling dance and would chase the ball all day long if she could!
“We adopted Mia from a shelter when she was six months old. She melted our hearts with her loving, patient and caring personality. Mia is a lot of fun to be around and makes us smile with her quirky ways – this makes her the perfect fit for pet therapy,” shares Jo.
Jo runs her own electrical business with her husband. Her main role is managing the company administration. However she still finds time to volunteer.
“Volunteering for Lort Smith is an extremely enriching experience in many ways. As a volunteer I have been lucky enough to be involved in many different programs with the most knowledgeable, caring staff and volunteers,” says Jo.
Together, Jo and Mia visit the Royal Children’s Hospital. Whilst their visits are aimed towards the kids, Jo finds that parents, siblings and staff also love to spend time with Mia.
“Twelve months ago Mia and I were asked by a lovely mum to visit her daughter in recovery following an operation to remove a brain tumour. Mia laid still on the bed alongside the girl as she slowly stroked Mia’s coat. The staff and mum were very excited seeing the response of the little girl after such a massive operation. This was incredibly emotional for everyone – but in a positive happy way.”
“Being a pet therapy volunteer you often think of patients you have met and their progress to wellness. I was lucky enough to run into both mum and daughter six months down the track at the Royal Children’s Hospital. They ran up to Mia and I to thank us for the cuddles and companionship they shared during their difficult time. Mum said when her daughter started talking days after the operation her first words were ‘Mum can I cuddle Mia again because she makes me feel happy and safe.’ This was definitely a goose bump moment for me!”
“Being able to contribute to the community in a caring nurturing way is very rewarding. Being able to enjoy happy times and share sad times is the best part of volunteering,” shares Jo.
Thank you Jo and Mia for your time, love and care. Your therapy has a profound and unforgettable impact on countless patients, families and staff of the Royal Children’s Hospital.