With so much change happening in the way we interact in the current climate, many conversations have moved from in person to online. Someone who has also begun working online from home is the adorable Elvis from Delta Therapy Dogs!

At Cabrini we have a number of therapy dogs visit our patients to lift their spirits and provide some much needed company while they recover. However with the restrictions now in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we wanted to find a way for our patients to continue this important therapy. Last week Elvis the Maltese Terrier had his first virtual pet therapy session with a number of patients at Cabrini Malvern.

“The patients absolutely love the pet therapy we can provide for them at Cabrini, so we were very excited when Delta Therapy Dogs offered to do a virtual session so our patients could still see Elvis and his owner Judy” says Jenny Saunders, Nurse Unit Manager at Cabrini Malvern. “We brought a laptop to the bedside so that patients needn’t move, they could relax in bed while watching Elvis”.

Elvis ran around his lounge room and got up to the usual doggy antics while smiling for the camera. Patient Pru told us that it was a warm fulfilling experience which reminded her of her own dog Phoebe, while patient Anita said that Elvis is an adorable dog and that it was such a lovely feeling of joy and pleasure to meet him. Even the staff members enjoyed seeing Elvis, saying that it was the highlight of their week and brought out so many smiles on the ward.

Delta Therapy Dogs have been conducting pet therapy sessions at Cabrini since 2014. “We had to navigate allowing pets into a hospital at first” says Cabrini Foundation Director Sue Parkes, “but it was obvious how much it helps in the holistic care of our patients. We had a young boy who was in a very bad condition, but when the dog came and sat on the bed with him his vital signs began to improve, it was phenomenal”.

This saw the beginning of Cabrini Foundation’s partnership with Delta Therapy Dogs, facilitating as many visits as possible for our patients. Each year Cabrini Foundation sends a voucher for dog treats and pampering to Delta Therapy Dogs in return for their regular visits to Cabrini patients.

It is certainly worth it, with patients being very grateful for the chance to meet with the therapy dogs, whether that be in person or virtually. “Thank you to the nurses for giving me the opportunity to have this visit” said Pru, “I can’t wait to see Elvis again next week”.

To donate to Cabrini click on ‘Donate Now’ on our homepage or call 9508 1380.