Today, dogs across the world will accompany their owners to the workplace in recognition of Bring Your Dog to Work Day, an annual event to promote pet adoption. Proven to reduce stress and promote overall wellbeing, dogs provide a raft of benefits to their human counterparts, in addition to the joy of their company: something Lifestyle & Volunteer Coordinator, Bronwyn Waters knows all too well. When Bronwyn had the chance to invite some four-legged residents to Regis Playford, she jumped at the opportunity.

As Bronwyn thinks back on how Mr Squiggle and Miss Lovie came to reside at Regis Playford, she recalls a chance meeting with a neighbour, ironically prompted by her own pooch. “My dog wandered to a lady’s house across the road, and I learned she had a number of dogs she needed to rehome following a change in her circumstances,” she says. “We have previously had dogs living at Regis Playford, and our General Manager was very open to the idea.”

Recognising what it would take for any canine residents to fit in with the community at Regis Playford, Bronwyn knew how important it was that the dogs were gentle and even-tempered. Mr Squiggle and Miss Lovie had been raised around people living with disabilities, so were very accustomed to navigating wheelchairs, warming laps, and providing comfort. After a trial period, the dogs officially moved in to Regis Playford in June 2020, and have since become part of our family, even earning the nickname “the kids.” Residents, their families, and employees alike have come to adore their little quirks, such as Miss Lovie’s excited dash around the courtyard and Mr Squiggle’s snoring habit. “The residents really enjoy being able to give them a brush, have a chat with them, or simply just sit next to them and read a magazine,” says Bronwyn.

When it comes to thinking about the impact that Mr Squiggle and Miss Lovie have had on the community since their arrival, Bronwyn confirms this is significant. In the Memory Support Unit, the dogs do some of their best work. Their presence has helped with relaxation, and prompting a number of residents to reminisce and share memories about the pets they’ve had in their lives. “When the dogs enter the room, people light up with big smiles. If someone’s feeling a little more anxious than they normally would be, we bring the dogs down for some pet therapy,” says Bronwyn. It’s clear that by finding their new home at Regis Playford, Mr Squiggle and Miss Lovie have helped others to feel more at home. Of course, their generous contribution is not without ample payment. “It’s a two-way street, and we know treats are the way to their heart!”