Australian hospital hires therapy dog to help nurses cope with stress

Rosie the dog is an essential worker in her own way.

The therapy canine was commissioned by the St. John of God hospital in Australia. Rosie’s job is to help nursing staff cope with the long hours and stress of the pandemic. 

“It’s amazing the effect that a dog has on a human being and the people and more so the staff and how it can help us, ourselves, make us strong enough to care for our patients,” CEO Michelle Stares told the Associated Press. 

The natural connection humans have with dogs allows the staff to implicitly vent emotions they normally couldn’t at work. 

“There’s a lot of mental health struggles that people may not feel like that they can express. So seeing a dog and talking to someone, just having a friendly chat, is actually really great,” said nurse Renee Sheridan.

The hospital ran a trial in 2019 and now Rosie’s visits have become a regular staple. 

“Obviously the work is stressful, and lately it has been more stressful than others. But as soon as you see Rosie or Jack [another therapy animal] on the ward everything seems to just disappear,” Sheridan told the Associated Press. 

When St. John of God conducted a survey of staff, 100 percent of the caregivers said Rosie improved their wellbeing by increasing happiness and reducing stress. 

“Dogs do something really beautifully and naturally with people that’s about connection,” said Grant Shannon, founder of Dogs Connect.

If you enjoyed this story, you might want to read about this golden retriever pup that insisted on walking her big brother.

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