It’s no secret that one of the most popular visitors to be welcomed at Mercy Place Westcourt every week has four legs, a wet nose and a tail that wags enthusiastically.
Border collie/kelpie cross Loki has been visiting residents regularly for close to three years where he meets and greets seniors at the not-for-profit aged care home every week and has, in the process, become a huge hit amongst both residents and staff.
Owner Natasha Dearle who has been volunteering at Mercy Place Westcourt for the time that she has been bringing Loki to visit seniors, says his visits spark joy amongst residents, the majority of whom have owned and loved dogs in their younger years.
“Loki has had an extremely positive influence on residents, as well as Mercy Health staff who also totally adore him, and we both love being volunteers and having the opportunity to spend time with seniors every Thursday morning,” says Ms Dearle.
“We have found that his presence is very relaxing for residents, they love stroking him and giving him treats, and his visits certainly increase interactivity, especially with those who are living with dementia; I think he’s secretly everyone’s favourite visitor and he just adores being around friends too.”
Mercy Place Westcourt Service Manager, Ms Angela Cox, says statistics show that 85 per cent of people have owned a pet at some time in their lives.
“Because of this, it is no surprise that animal interaction is a great source of therapy,” she says.
“Research also shows that animals improve the wellbeing of people and this is one of the reasons why we are so happy to welcome Natasha and Loki every week and very much value the fact that they volunteer with us so regularly.
“Loki is a very popular visitor at Mercy Place Westcourt, it’s no secret that everyone has fallen in love with him. We are very grateful to Natasha, and indeed all of our volunteers for their dedication to us as we approach International Volunteer Day (December 5), and no doubt Loki will be rewarded with an extra special treat to acknowledge his doggy dedication to our home and our residents too.”
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