Wanna see a magic trick? Well, technically, I can’t show it to you as you’re on the other side of the screen, but if you do your best and try to imagine it, I’m sure it’ll work. Are you ready? 3…2…1… A tiny puppy! Did that make you smile? Giggle? Or maybe you’re cringing at this poor excuse of an introduction.
Whichever it is, we can both agree – dogs make everything better. It is a truth much agreed on, and now, in an Australian-first pilot program, rescued greyhounds will provide support and engagement for people living in aged care homes, including residents living with dementia.
Before we dive into the details, dear reader, I’d like to ask you to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section – do you know of any other initiatives like this? Upvote the story and follow the author to keep the wholesome content coming, and without further ado, let’s get to it!
An Australian-first pilot program will bring together rescued greyhounds and residents at HammondCare’s aged care facilities
An Australian-first pilot program will bring together rescued greyhounds and elderly residents at HammondCare’s residential aged care facilities.
The initiative will build upon previous animal-engagement programs with seniors which have shown to greatly improve residents’ quality of life by decreasing loneliness and depression and increasing physical activity and socialization.
The project, called Hounds Helping Humans, aims to decrease residents’ loneliness and depression and to increase their physical activity and quality of life
The project will be called Hounds Helping Humans, and the greyhounds will be carefully chosen for the resident visits. It will also include people living with dementia, as studies have shown that caring for an animal provides a source of support, stress relief, and purpose.
As explained by Alzheimers.org, visits from an animal can be an energetic experience or an exciting part of a person’s day, with animals being a wonderful source of love and laughter.
Visits from an animal can be an energetic experience or an exciting part of a person’s day, with animals being a wonderful source of love and laughter
The greyhounds will receive training to prepare them for the sounds, sights, activities and equipment (such as wheelchairs and trolleys) they will encounter in an aged care environment.
The training will also encompass communication techniques to facilitate meaningful connection between the greyhounds and the residents.
The Hounds Helping Humans is only one of many projects that sit under the broader initiative, called the Life Engagement Project. Its main aim is to provide more opportunities for residents to pursue interests and hobbies in various areas, such as the visual arts, music, sports and animal interaction.
Greyhound Rescue volunteers have taken some greyhounds to mental health and aged care facilities previously. Horsley resident Thelma Connaughton, 83, spoke affectionately about greyhound LB, short for Long Black, after spending some time with her at the launch of the Hounds Helping Humans program. “She is just so lovely, so beautiful – absolutely beautiful!”
The greyhounds will be trained to prepare for the sounds, sights, and equipment – wheelchairs and trolleys – they’ll encounter in an aged care environment
HammondCare CEO Mike Baird believes that meaningful involvement with everyday life is crucial to everyone’s wellbeing. “I am delighted that one part of this Life Engagement Pilot is evaluating how animal engagement and support can improve quality of life for residents,” he said.
“What a wonderful outcome if rescued greyhounds can be given a new purpose providing happiness for those who are older in the community.”
The training also encompasses communication techniques to facilitate meaningful connections between the greyhounds and the residents
Greyhound Rescue President Nat Panzarino said they’re looking forward to working with HammondCare on the pilot and to exploring the potential for a wider program for rescued greyhounds. She believes that greyhounds are the perfect breed for the job at hand as they’re generally calm and are tall enough for people in wheelchairs or those confined to beds to interact with.
“At Greyhound Rescue we know all too well the magic that these incredible hounds can bring to people’s lives,” Ms Panzarino said. “What better way to share this magic with more people than bringing greyhounds to where they are really needed – to brighten the lives of people craving connection and companionship.”
Greyhound Rescue President Nat Panzarino believes that greyhounds are the perfect breed for the job due to their gentle nature and tall physique
Let’s dive a little deeper into the nature of greyhounds, shall we? According to the Greyhound Trust, the pups make great pets for all kinds of individuals and families. They are low-maintenance, gentle and laid-back dogs that are happy to just doze off next to you, with their legs high in the air, chasing cloud bunnies.
They don’t require too much exercise and are perfectly happy with two twenty-minute walks a day. Greyhounds are built for speed, not stamina, and use up their energy in short bursts. The breed tends to be very intelligent, affectionate and calm, getting along very well with children, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
The pilot is set to be introduced into HammondCare’s residential aged care homes in a few months, and we’re sure it’ll be a start to something special
The rescue itself aims to find loving forever homes for greyhounds no longer wanted by the racing industry. If you’d like to support their cause, you can find a link here. And if you’d like to support HammondCare initiatives, you can find a link here.
The Hounds Helping Humans pilot is set to be introduced into HammondCare’s residential aged care homes in the coming months. A review of the benefits of the program will follow, but we’re sure it’ll be the beginning of something truly special.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and I wish you all a splendid day!