Sophie the therapy dog visits Shenton Park

May 1, 2014

Patients of the State rehabilitation service at Royal Perth Hospital’s (RPH) Shenton Park Campus (SPC) are treated to the delightful presence of SPCs newest volunteer, Sophie, the seven-year-old golden retriever.

SPC Chaplain, Russell Mitchell says he first witnessed the positive impact that therapy dogs have on patients while at a hospice facility in Murdoch.

“Sophie’s presence at the hospital gives patients an opportunity to escape from the regular hospital environment they are exposed to,” he said. “interaction with Sophie, and her carer Roz brings immense joy to rehabilitation patients, assisting their spiritual healing.”

Owner Roz Hart started volunteering at SPC with Sophie six months ago, with the impact of regular visits already evident in patients. “I can see that we are making a real difference here,” she said. “we leave patients with smiles on their faces. It completely changes the atmosphere of the hospital.”

Greeted warmly by staff with a pat behind the ear, or a rub of her belly, Sophie’s weekly visits are a delight for patients, visitors and staff alike.

“It is amazing to see the bond that our patients have formed with Sophie,” Russell says. “the emotional and spiritual connection with Sophie is incredible.”

Sophie offers herself to patients with unconditional love, joy and an abundance of affection, touching the hearts, and offering hope to patients at Shenton Park, proving that canines, really are man’s best friend.