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One of RPA's first therapy dogs pays her final visit

Furry good work

October 2018

One of RPA's first therapy dogs pays her final visit

One of RPA's first therapy dogs pays her final visit

Toni Purnell still remembers the time the gentle touch from her dog Millie sparked a reaction from a patient who had been unresponsive for weeks on RPA's neurology ward.

"The nurses said this patient had not responded to anything post-surgery so we lifted Millie onto the bed and put their hand on her fur. They started to move and open their eyes; they tried to speak. The nurses and I all got teary and it's a moment I will never forget," Toni said.

Millie has completed her final day as a therapy dog on ward 8 west 2 at RPA.

The eight-year-old labrador-cocker spaniel was one of the first dogs to visit RPA when we started trialling the Delta Society Australia therapy dogs service in 2014.
We now have 13 dogs delivering their own form of medicine across Sydney Local Health District.

"Millie doesn't demand anything; she isn't here to take blood or talk about your sickness. You can bury yourself in her fur and ears and escape," Toni said.
"I don't think she'll ever understand how much joy she has brought. I'll miss visiting very much and I hope we have helped make a small difference in the lives of patients and staff over the years."

As a final gift, Millie gave Clyde Collier, of Wolli Creek, some love this morning as he awaited the call for surgery.
"She's beautiful, very calming," Clyde said.

Millie's replacement will be Molly, a tiny Tibetan spaniel-poodle from Glebe, and her owner Annette Smith-Bridges, a former nurse.

To find out more about therapy dogs, see here

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