Pet therapy

Paw-fect bedside buddies!

Delta Society Australia provides their friendly volunteers and wonderful canine sidekicks to the Queensland Children’s Hospital to visit sick children across the wards.

Research shows that interaction with our furry friends helps with pain management, stimulates the senses, has a calming effect on patients, and often brings lots of laughter. Over the past year, the Pet Therapy dogs have added a touch of wonder and excitement to the lives of nearly 3,000 children in hospital.

Seven days a week, our Entertainment volunteers accompany the Pet Therapy volunteers and dogs as they visit patients at their bedsides and bring endless joy to sick kids and their families.

Hospitals can be an overwhelming and stressful place for anyone, and therapy dogs have the incredible ability to completely distract kids, taking them temporarily out of the clinical environment.

When patients see the dogs, their entire body language changes. Just a few minutes with a therapy dog and kids who might otherwise be quite scared or downhearted, are completely transformed by the presence of these furry friends.

For parents, seeing their child’s face light up means the world. Parents and families of sick kids have to watch their child have procedures and spend countless hours at the hospital, but the moment these dogs enter the room their child gets to laugh and interact with the dog. The positive and rejuvenating energy that a dog injects into a hospital room is invaluable.

It’s also beneficial for the nurses who care for the kids. A five-minute break with a playful pup is the best mood boost imaginable.

Arlo's Story

Arlo is a toddler with Autism who at three and half years old began experiencing serious seizures which, at one stage, saw him staying at the hospital for nearly three weeks.

Through all the ambulance rides, emergency department visits and hospital stays, Arlo’s mum Shannon said that he has coped amazingly, and that services like Pet Therapy made a huge difference to Arlo’s hospital experience.

“The staff at the Queensland Children’s Hospital were beyond amazing, but one of the biggest helps during our time at the hospital was the regular visits from the Pet Therapy dogs.

“There was a visible change in Arlo whenever the Pet Therapy dogs arrived – he would immediately quieten, calm down and move slowly to be near the dog, giving them cuddles and gentle pats and exploring their tails, ears and feet.

“After the visit the calmness would last quite a while – there was one occasion where Arlo was receiving a treatment and one of the dogs was able to come in and sit with his head on the side of Arlo’s bed, and do a few tricks, which kept Arlo distracted and calmer than he otherwise would have been.

“Another standout moment with the Pet Therapy dogs was when Bozo the Wonderdog visited Arlo dressed as Batdog, Arlo spent most of his time at hospital with his own Batman mask and cape on, so that visit was especially memorable.

“After seeing your child seizing multiple times a night, not breathing, with him being panicked through blood tests and canula changes, and discomfort through EEG’s, those moments of peace when the Pet Therapy dogs would visit were wonderful.

“This service allowed me to catch my breath and for Arlo to be a normal little boy.

How to access Pet Therapy at Queensland Children’s Hospital

Pet Therapy is available seven days a week at various times. To access this service, please speak to your doctor or nurse about organising a pet therapy session for your child.