Henry's Achievements In Aged Care
It is amazing to think that a small dog could have such an impact on the aged care population he works with only 3 days a week. Henry has become quite a familiar face around the facility at Regis, Caboolture with residents often asking for him when I am not working. He has his work routine and usually can't wait to hit the floor and begin his day. Of course he has cuddles where he will lay on the bed of one kind lady who is willing to accommodate for him, as he falls asleep while she spoons him and I provide treatment for her. Henry also knows where he can get biscuits and will insist on going into those rooms rather than walking straight past. He returns the favour by supplying cuddles and a small lick. Henry has been able to engage and motivate people throughout the facility in regards to walking, exercise and getting people out of their room to encourage social inclusion.
Just recently, I was able to increase the range of movement in the elbow of a man who had a stroke, just by having Henry on his lap as a distraction while I worked on passive movement. By the end of the session, the elderly man was able to place his affected arm on Henry at a 90 degree angle as opposed to a 20 degree range.
Henry turns into a completely different dog when he goes in to see someone who is in their final days. He simply lays on the bed beside them and we assist the person to place their hand on Henry, allowing them to have some sensory input from his coat and he may give the occasional lick which often brings a smile. These are very special moments.
I have found that it's not only the residents who benefit from having Henry around but my colleagues and the staff at the facility. The look on their face when they enter our office to see Henry there is simply priceless and sets the tone for the day. The staff working at the facility will often pop into the office to have a cuddle and a pat.
I know that Henry enjoys going into work because he always tries to run in every morning we are there, with his tail wagging and positive body language. He also has his little house set up to have time out when he needs and plays games in the garden throughout the day.
Seeing the reactions from the residents and staff, and hearing their own stories of when they were young is a beautiful way of connecting and bringing people together.