Mercy Place's canine companion putting smiles on faces

Residents and staff at Mercy Place Mount St Joseph's are enjoying regular visits from four-year-old red Kelpie, Hank.

Hank is the newest canine companion to step up to the plate after regular visits from therapy dogs had to cease at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hank has accompanied his owner, assistant in nursing care companion Ella Roberts, to her shifts during the pandemic, and is being recognised in celebration of Dog Therapy Awareness Month.

It all began when Ella's partner encouraged her to bring Hank in for a visit, as he was sure that the residents would love him as much as they did.

From the very beginning, the residents were quick to adore Hank, vying for his attention. According to Ella, the resident's reactions are always priceless, with them cuddling him and telling him how much they love him.

Ella said Hank's known for being an incredibly friendly and sweet pup, whose favourite activity is fetching the ball.

The staff are also pleased to see him and don't mind stopping to kick a ball or offer a pat on the way past. Ella said the smiles that Hank creates make the home an even more joyous place to be and she's very happy extending the love to others.

"We have a few different animal visitors," Ella Roberts said.

"He started coming to work with me occasionally. A lot of the residents really love him and ask me when he's coming back, or how's he going."