Katherine has been a Lort Smith Pet Therapy volunteer since 2015. Her trusty sidekick is Abby Grace, a seven-year-old cavoodle.
“Abby absolutely loves cuddles and playing with her toys, especially her ball. Abby can do lots of tricks, just this year she learnt to roll over. Everybody’s favourite trick would be her dancing, which I think is very impressive,” says Katherine proudly.
Katherine is currently on a break from nursing and states that pet therapy has been a great healer for her personally.
“Abby is such a beautiful, kind and caring dog. She has helped me with my confidence and anxiety so I thought she could help others. She really does put a smile on everyone’s face,” shares Katherine.
Together, Katherine and Abby visit an aged care facility with residents experiencing various stages of dementia. Before this, they visited a children’s hospital where Katherine felt fortunate to meet many wonderful children and their families. Katherine hopes that Abby’s visits relieved their stress of being in hospital.
“I still remember the family of a young boy, aged around two years. He was a regular inpatient in a children’s ward Abby and I visited. When the boy was asleep, his mother would cuddle Abby. She would often say that it was the highlight of her week. Seeing the joy on her face every time she saw Abby was unforgettable. It reinforced the reason I volunteer. Not just for the children to enjoy the presence of Abby but also for their parents, siblings and grandparents,” recalls Katherine.
Katherine finds the Lort Smith Pet Therapy Program very efficient and supportive. She believes volunteering brings out the good in people and provides an opportunity to give back and make a difference in your community. Katherine finds volunteering to be incredibly rewarding and considers it the highlight of her week!
“The difference you make to a person’s day is incredible to witness, and I love watching the relationship between Abby and the people we visit develop.
“Knowing Abby is making a positive impact on someone’s life is amazing to see and feel,” says Katherine.
Our pet therapy teams consist of a person and their dog. Katherine, you too have an enormous and positive effect on the patients and residents whom you visit. As wonderful as Abby is, she cannot take all the credit. Thank you for being so generous with your time.