Julie & Bentley 2

The Lort Smith Pet Therapy Program is a complimentary service provided to residents at our aged care home in Hastings. In the program, Pet Therapy volunteer, Julie Klauss and her therapy dog, Bentley (trained to provide affection and comfort to residents) pays friendly visits to residents receiving our aged care services.

The Lort Smith Pet Therapy program commenced at The Bays in March this year and has already proven to be a great way of lifting the spirits of our residents and helping to alleviate their anxiety, depression, social isolation and communication difficulties.

Mornington Peninsula resident Julie is presently our first trained Pet Therapy Program volunteer. She says the effect therapy dogs have on residents is almost instantaneous. “You can just see the difference in demeanour of the residents as soon as they see Bentley.”

“Whether through sitting with a patient and sharing some affection, placing a gentle head on the lap of someone in distress or by having a bit of fun or showing off their special talents during a visit, the positive impact dogs have on people in aged care can be profound.”

The Bays Aged Care Lifestyle Manager, Glenys Malkin, says the pet therapy program offers a gift of love and acceptance to all, without judgement. “The positive interaction with visiting volunteer Julie and Bentley brings so much comfort and joy to residents.”  “Just seeing Bentley stretch out and relax on the floor sleeping, while Julie has a chat to a resident, is so calming and you cannot help but smile. It’s lovely.”

Lort Smith Pet Therapy Program involves volunteers taking their own pet dogs to visit people in hospitals, aged care facilities and a variety of other health and wellbeing settings in Melbourne. The Bays are incredibly grateful to receive the support of Julie and her dog Bentley and Lort Smith.

 If you would like to find out information on volunteering for the Lort Smith Pet Therapy Program, please contact (03) 9321 7272 or pettherapy@lortsmith.com.au