Gorgeous greyhound Steve is bringing a smile to the faces of residents at Regis Greenmount aged care home as part of our Therapy Dog Program.

In June, 2017 Greyhounds as Pets (GAP) developed a relationship with Regis Aged Care providing an opportunity for GAP Volunteers and their greyhounds to visit residents as part of a pilot Therapy Dog program.

Currently running within Regis Greenmount, this program gives residents the chance to interact with dogs and enjoy the associated benefits from animal-assisted therapy.

Steve’s owner Pauline volunteers at Regis Greenmount, she says the program is a fantastic initiative mutually beneficial to the residents, staff, Steve and herself.

“Steve was a bit cautious at first, but after a couple of weeks he warmed to the task and now he’s quite eager when we get there,” she said. “He clearly enjoys the pats and rubs he gets, but I think the real attraction is that we arrive about morning tea time!”

“There’s a few people he’s really taken to, of course they tend to be people who speak ‘dog’. Overall Steve is content getting a pat from most residents and I really enjoy listening to them reminisce about the dogs they used to own,” Pauline said.

The initiative is one of two volunteer programs established at GAP towards the end of 2016: Animal Enrichment and Community Engagement.

The Animal Enrichment program provides additional socialisation for greyhounds moving through the GAP program, as they transition to pet life at the Southern River kennel facility.

The Community Engagement program offers opportunities for volunteers to engage in their local community by promoting greyhound ownership through their love of the breed.

GAP Team Leader, Lauren Savage, says she hopes to see more aged care facilities take up the opportunity.

“Greyhounds are ideal as therapy dogs, they are loving, sensitive and the perfect height for beds and wheelchairs,” she said.

“Programs like this are a great way to promote the breed and to place greyhounds in the minds of people who perhaps hadn’t considered getting one before. We hope to expand the program in the coming months and encourage anyone interested to get in touch,” Lauren said.

For more information or to get involved in your local community give the team a call on 08 9445 5399.