Thousands of therapy dogs and their owners will join togethe to celebrate Delta Society Australia’s 20th birthday

Photo: Queensland Nurses and Midwives’ Union

THOUSANDS of therapy dogs and their owners will join together around Australia on November 25 to celebrate Delta Society Australia’s 20th birthday and the remarkable bond between dogs and people.

From humble beginnings in 1997, Delta Society Australia (Delta) now touches the lives of 20,000 Australians per week in more than 850 health and service facilities nationally via its flagship therapy dog program.

Ms Hollee James, General Manager of Delta Society Australia said that given that up to 40 per cent of people in aged care homes never get visitors, a regular visit from a Delta therapy dog can be the one highlight in an otherwise lonely day-to-day life.

“Attention from a dog, made possible via a dog and handler team such as Delta’s, brightens your day, makes you feel loved and is scientifically proven to enhance health and wellbeing. As more people recognise the real physical and emotional benefits from spending time with a dog, demand for our services is increasing,” Ms James said.

In addition to its therapy dog program in health facilities, Delta therapy dogs visit primary school classrooms to improve children’s literacy and provide stress-relief visits to a growing number of workplaces.

Delta also offers dog safety awareness programs for pre-school and primary aged children and delivers accredited courses for individuals seeking to become qualified dog trainers.
Fiona Morton and her dog Ruby (pictured) have for the past six years been visiting hospital patients.

During that time, they have seen the real difference their visits make to patients. Fiona, a registered nurse, says that Ruby’s visits are a welcome distraction for patients, many of whom have dementia.

Delta relies on the generosity of donors and volunteers to provide its life-changing services.

“We simply could not have continued for 20 years without our donors and the tireless work of Delta’s volunteers and accredited trainers. I sincerely thank everyone who has shared their energy, time and commitment with Delta over the years,” Ms James said.