Katherine Hospital welcomes therapy dog

Published on Thursday, 1 December 2022 at 9:00:00 AM

Katherine Hospital’s new therapy dog is still in training yet has already made a difference to the lives of patients.

Izzy, a two-year-old non-allergenic poodle from Darwin PAWS, visited the hospital on October 25 and 26 for training. There she met four-year-old Tess who was waiting for a cast to be put on her arm.

“We were waiting when they (Izzy and orderly Stacey) walked past,” Tess’s mother Amanda said. “They must have picked up on our distress.”

Tess was waiting for a particularly difficult procedure. As she had a broken elbow, she needed a full arm cast that is put on at an angle. Last time it was done, it had been a traumatic experience where Tess had “screamed and screamed.”

“I think Izzy diffused the situation before it even began,” Amanda said. “Last time it was quite hard to get Tess to sit still but this time she was distracted with Izzy sitting at her feet. She was petting her and all of a sudden her arm was in a new cast. It was miraculous.”

Tess called Izzy the white fluffy cloud. “She is the most healing-like dog I have seen, she is angelic,” Amanda said. “My children are chaos and she is just oozing calmness.”

“I said to Stacey that Izzy had made a massive difference to my family that day.”

Izzy will visit the hospital a few more times before she makes the permanent move in the New Year. This service addition to the hospital is the result of over $38,000 being raised at Katherine Town Council’s Defence and Mayoral Ball in August 2022. Izzy will be the first support and wellness dog in the Northern Territory to permanently live at a hospital. While Izzy will help patients, she will also be a therapeutic presence for staff at the hospital.

“It’s wonderful that such a beneficial service can be the result of our fundraising event,” Katherine Mayor Lis Clark said.

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