PHOTOS: Therapy pup Cody brings hope back to elderly

A SPANIEL named Cody is bringing life back to low response, high care residents at Peregian Springs Arcare.

Martin and Jennifer Ashworth visit the facility every Monday with their dog Cody as volunteers for Delta Dogs, an animal therapy program for health care providers.

Arcare lifestyle coordinator Di Tyler said the benefits of visits from Delta Dogs was profound.

"We've been having Cody visit for three years," Ms Tyler said.

"Some of our most non-responsive residents respond to Cody. Where medicine doesn't work, pet therapy does."

Martin said Cody lifts spirits and brings energy to residents often non-responsive even to their families.

 

"You see the residents and how much it changes their mood," Martin said.

"One resident, Anne, I'll walk in to her room and get no recognition. She hardly talks at all. She's basically unresponsive.

"As soon as the dog walks in, her whole face lights up. She starts saying 'doggy, doggy, doggy'.

"Some of these residents, they don't know where they are, or who they are, but they recognise Cody."

Jennifer said Cody has become an important part of residents' lives and gives them structure.

"A resident was sick and went to hospital, so we sent her a card with a picture of Cody on it saying 'get well soon'," Jennifer said.

"When she came back to Arcare, she had the card on her side table.

"Our visits give them something to look forward to.

"If we don't come on a Monday we hear about it (from the residents) - we get told off next week.

"We have family visit (the residents) and they say 'we know everything about Cody'."

Cody's presence and affection helps to stir memories about previous pets from Arcare residents with memory loss.

"We always had dogs, a greyhound was our last," said resident Margaret Hay.


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