Mercy Place Mount St Joseph's celebrate four-legged friends

Mount St Joseph's nursing assistant Heidi Stevens with Alice, 6, and staff member Carol Wlodarczyk with Lucy, 3. Photo: Peter Guthrie
Mount St Joseph's nursing assistant Heidi Stevens with Alice, 6, and staff member Carol Wlodarczyk with Lucy, 3. Photo: Peter Guthrie

Mercy Place Mount St Joseph's celebrated Bring Your Dog To Work Day on Friday, June 26 with familiar face Alice visiting residents and staff.

Alice, a six-year-old labrador, kelpie and German coolie cross, has been a regular at Mount St Joseph's since she was adopted in 2014 by assistant in nursing Heidi Stevens.

Alice was only six weeks old when she had her first trip to work with Heidi, and since then, she's developed many close friendships with residents and staff.

She usually visits every second Sunday when things are bit quieter.

However, during the coronavirus pandemic, Alice has been in high demand and is now more popular than ever.

"With all the COVID-19 restrictions in place at the moment and with less visitors coming to see the residents, the residents are really enjoying having her company. There's not a lot of visitors and there's not as many activities happening so to have Alice is a real blessing we're very lucky to have her," Heidi said.

Alice and resident Sister Dom at Mercy Place Mount St Joseph's. Photo: contributed

Alice and resident Sister Dom at Mercy Place Mount St Joseph's. Photo: contributed

"She's six years old, I got her when she was six weeks old. As a pup I started bringing her up here and putting her in peoples' laps and she's been coming ever since, she just loves it.

"She loves the attention and she gets lots of treats and pats. People really like her."

Alice's nature makes her a perfect match for Mount St Joseph's, Heidi explained.

"She's really good up here. She's not timid and not overly active which works really well up here.

"He comes up every second Sunday. She gets pretty tired by the end of the shift and just sits in the lounge room.

"Sundays are good because it can take quite a lot of time with her with people who want to stop and talk to her.

"Especially residents who once had dogs and really love dogs. I hear all their stories of when they owned dogs. I think that's the best bit."

Mount St Joseph's human resources staff member Carol Wlodarczyk also makes regular visits with her great dane and ridgeback cross Meya, and whippet Lucy.

"The best thing about bringing a dog into aged care is seeing faces light up when residents see a friendly dog, giving them that connection back to nature and reminiscing about their own pets and what wonderful, loyal, four legged friends that had shared their lives," Carol said.