Four-legged volunteer making days brighter at St John of God Subiaco Hospital

Ralphie the Delta Therapy Dog is an eight-year-old Schmoodle who recently put his St John of God Subiaco Hospital badge on to provide respite to chemotherapy patients.

11 Nov 2021

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Under the guidance of carer Ingrid, the furry companion illuminated the room as he entered the Ivy Suite in St John of God Subiaco Hospital’s Bendat Family Comprehensive Cancer Centre.

Ralphie’s presence had an immediate impact on patients and St John of God Subiaco Hospital Caregivers, including Nurse Service Manager (Medical & Oncology Services) Susanna Murphy.

“Ralphie was able to provide a moment of comfort for patients when they needed it most,” Susanna said.

“The introduction of Delta Therapy Dogs’ service at the hospital was an important decision. Hospitals can be an overwhelming and uncertain place for anyone, and therapy dogs have the incredible ability to distract patients and relieve anxiety.”

“Ralphie will continue to visit St John of God Subiaco Hospital on a fortnightly basis, helping to put smiles on our patient’s faces and getting lots of cuddles in the process.”

Delta Therapy Dogs Chief Executive Officer, Melinda Farrell, explains that therapy dogs positively impact quality of life and well-being.

“The benefits of therapy animals have a strong evidence base. Therapy dogs have a positive impact on social, emotional, physical and physiological health.”

Melinda said that the national team of staff and volunteers love what they do, “Delta’s Therapy Dog Teams are an amazing group of volunteers who, along with their beloved pet dogs, willingly give their time and commitment to support our program delivery.”

Delta Therapy Dogs is a national leader in the delivery of Animal Assisted Services, with over 1,200 volunteers delivering Animal Assisted Activities (AAA) and Collaborative Animal Assisted Therapy (C-AAT) in hospitals, aged care facilities, youth services, mental health services, correctional facilities, and other health and community services right across Australia.

You can follow the work of Ralphie and Ingrid and fellow Delta Therapy Dog teams online at @deltatherapydogs.