A very special visit from man’s best friend is helping to bring the joy of animal companionship and acceptance to patients at the Conolly Unit of the Baillie Henderson Hospital, thanks to support from the Toowoomba Hospital Foundation.

The Delta Therapy Dogs Program, which is a non-for-profit organisation that uses dogs to increase physical, social, emotional and cognitive well-being among patients, has been visiting Baillie Henderson Hospital since 2014. As patients often must leave the pets they love behind, local Delta Dog Wally and his owner Kerryn brightens the day of patients and allows them to reminisce of their own pets, while providing therapy for them at the same time.

Toowoomba Hospital Foundation CEO Alison Kennedy said the response from the patients and the staff is incredible. “It’s amazing to see how much the mood lifts in the ward when Wally is there, not only among the patients but also in the staff who do such an amazing job caring for the residents,” she said. “The Toowoomba Hospital Foundation is very proud to support such an amazing initiative which wouldn’t be possible without community support and incredible volunteers, like Wally’s mum Kerryn, giving up their time to help improve the quality of life for the patients. We’ve had such incredible feedback from the staff and it’s so wonderful to see the programs we help fund make genuine and real differences to the patients of the Conolly Unit.”

Delta Dogs volunteer and handler Kerryn Logan said that it is so beautiful to see the smile that Wally brings to the patient’s faces. “The visits from Wally and Delta Dogs are incredibly important as there is so much research on what animals can do for humans and the impact that they have on health, wellbeing and general mood, they’re just such an amazing influence,” she said. “For some people, even just the opportunity to have a chat is really appreciated, and all the staff seem to love Wally as well.”

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