Welcome Visit from a Four-legged Friend
11 May 2016
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Pets and Residents
Atawhai residents love their visits from Canine Friends Roxi and Pedro
There's nothing more enjoyable than a regular visit with a loyal friend and spending some quality time together. It can really brighten your day.
Our residents' days are full of activities, outings and entertainment, but what some of them look forward to the most every week is seeing their mate. You know, the one they call "man's best friends". Yes, I am talking about dogs. We are very blessed to have two four-legged friends visiting us weekly at Atawhai and they couldn't be more different if they tried.
Canine Friend is a voluntary organisation that arranges for friendly, well-behaved dogs and their owners to visit rest homes. Roxi, a gorgeous seven-year-old German shepherd, and her lovely owner Ann have been visiting us every single Saturday for the last three years, providing pet therapy to our residents. Our other canine friend is Pedro, a super cute chihuahua who belongs to one of our amazing healthcare assistants, Saphire. Saphire takes the time to bring her beloved Pedro in every Wedmesday afternoon and they go from lounges to bedrooms, putting a smile on residents' faces.
It is quite amazing to watch the change in mood and body language as soon as the dogs come into the room. It truly is like seeing an old friend, someone you can trust and be yourself with. All your worries disappear for a while. That is what pet therapy is all about. It won't cure an illness or take the years away, but it does bring quality to our residents' lives and help them cope with whatever life has thrown at them.
It puts a smile on their face and makes them feel happy and optimistic. They have a chat with Ann and Saphire and get to pat Roxi or have a cuddle with Pedro on their laps. And when it's time for their friend to go, they know they can look forward to seeing them again very soon.
Both dogs have a lot of fans. Every one of our residents has a different way of welcoming their friend. Lil sits in the corner of the main lounge, ready to greet Roxi at 10.30am every Saturday morning while Joss keeps some of her morning tea biscuits to share with Roxi when she visits her in her room. Resident Jim used to own a chihuahua whom he loved very much and misses, so he loves spending time with Pedro and cuddling him. For Rubi, size doesn't matter, her face lights up as soon as Pedro or Roxi come in her room - it's just magic to watch.
A visit from the dogs has a knock-on effect because when residents feel more positive and less anxious, they are more likely to interact with others and join activities, improving their quality of life even further. Thank you Ann and Saphire for giving your time to come and visit our residents. You and your four-legged friends make a world of difference to an elderly person's day.
Find out more about Atawhai Rest Home