It’s not often we imagine angels with four paws and a wagging tail, but Jack, the eight-year-old cocker spaniel, is a miracle worker of a different kind.
For seven years, Kim Bow has brought her furry friend to Maranatha Lodge, Batehaven, where she works as a recreational activities officer.
After spotting an ad in the Bay Post/Moruya Examiner and some persuading from residents at the nursing home, Kim adopted the then-12-month-old cocker from the Moruya pound.
“As soon as they (the residents) saw him, they said, ‘you have to get him!’,” Kim said.
“I had just lost my other dog and the residents prompted me to get him.”
Originally known as “Jacques”, it wasn’t long before residents had coincidentally picked the name “Jack” to call their new friend by.
At first, Jack was put to work three days a week, but after a positive response from management and residents, Kim moved him into a full-time therapy dog role.
Since bringing Jack to Maranatha, Kim has noticed residents of all care levels have benefited from his presence.
“The residents love him. Even our dementia residents know who he is and remember his name. It’s quite incredible,” she said.
“It makes people so happy … they class him as their pet. It’s very therapeutic having an animal around.”
“He goes everywhere and spends time in the residents’ rooms … he can just roam free.”
Residential manager, Tracey Art, said having Jack at the lodge was more practical than having an in-house pet available seven days a week.
She believes therapy pets like Jack are a great way to promote wellness and a home-like environment for nursing home residents.
“Jack is a part of the family. He certainly has lit up the lives of our residents,” Tracey said.
“By the looks on residents’ faces … the majority love having him here.”
Like many at Maranatha, resident Margaret McKenzie has formed a special bond with Jack.
“He’s my pal. It just makes me feel happy,” 86-year-old Margaret said.