Sharing the love of animals through Pet Therapy

Rachel Laing has volunteered with her groodle Jackson in North Parramatta for almost three years,

When Rachel Laing first started volunteering at Courtlands Aged Care around three years ago she didn’t realise how much she would gain from the experience.

Every week she brings her dog Jackson, a cross golden retriever and poodle, to share his love and affection with the residents in the dementia-specific area of the North Parramatta Home.

“The residents who have had dogs before love to reminiscence, and obviously he’s just a really nice companion, and very attentive and patient,” Rachel said.

“I loved sharing him. I used to go to public places on purpose because I wanted to share him, and I thought how can I do this all the time because he’s got so much love to give.”

The 28-year-old is one of more than 350 volunteers who give their time to bring joy to residents across Christadelphian Aged Care Homes and Villages.

It’s not only dogs who regularly come into the Homes to visit the residents, but also exotic birds, rabbits, reptiles, lambs and other farm animals.

Pet Therapy is just one of a range of volunteering opportunities available for people to get involved with at our Homes.

Other activities includes one-on-one chats with residents, reading books or newspapers out loud, providing musical entertainment, driving the bus for outings, teaching computers, going for walks or playing board games or chess.

There are also opportunities to volunteer in the cafes within our Homes preparing food and coffee.

In fact, volunteers are free to come up with their own suggestions and share their passions and interests with the residents.

Rachel not only shares her dog with the residents, but also puts on concerts where she sings and plays guitar.

“I really felt it was very rewarding for me as well,” she said.

“It’s a good experience because I feel like the residents here feel like they’re at home and that’s a feeling that’s so easy to lose. It’s really just a nice bond that I like to share.”

Each one of our Homes has a dedicated Volunteer and Pastoral Care Coordinator who can match volunteers with specific residents or activities, or listen to new ideas.

New volunteers are always needed to help out and bring a fresh face to our Homes, and residents always appreciate their enthusiasm.

For more information about volunteering with Christadelphian Aged Care see our Volunteers page or call 1800 246 637.