Dog days are over

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When you’re sick in hospital, a visit from a furry friend can turn your day around.

Delta Therapy Dog Zorro is a crowd favourite among patients and staff on the J2 ward at John Hunter Children’s Hospital.

The eight-year-old border collie knows just how to turn on the charm to make everyone’s problems melt away, even if only for a moment.

He also knows exactly where they keep the bubbles in the Starlight Express Room (he’s a bit of a bubble fan).

Zorro has been part of the Delta Therapy Dogs program for a year, visiting the children’s hospital, Speers Point Library and McIntosh Hostel at Teralba once a week with his volunteer handler, Cheryl Leach.

Last Thursday he was at the children’s hospital and stopped by 12-year-old Harry Adlington’s bed to say hello.

Harry, from Redhead, had been in hospital for two nights with an eye infection.

“It felt really good [to meet Zorro]; I was really happy that I wasn’t alone,” he told Newcastle Weekly.

It’s this reaction live for – but they can’t do it on their own.

They need the community’s support to help them spread the joy of animal companionship.

The annual We All Need A Little Therapy dog walk is just one way the not-for-profit organisation raises funds to keep going.

This year’s walk will be held on Sunday 7 April from 10am at Speers Point.

It is about four kilometres in length, though there is a shorter option.

The event will also include markets, food and entertainment for the whole family.

Rescue All Stars Dog Demonstration Team will perform tricks, while Newcastle All Breeds Dog Training Club will hold a dog agility display.

All money raised from the event will go directly to recruiting, assessing and placing new therapy dog teams into aged care facilities, hospitals, libraries and schools in the Newcastle and Hunter Region.

Having seen firsthand the amount of joy Zorro has brought to others in just 12 months, Ms Leach encouraged the community to get out and support the worthy cause.

“There’s not many people who don’t want to meet [a therapy dog],” she said.
“People’s faces light up and it makes it all so worth it.”

Register for We All Need A Little Therapy online via stickytickets.com.au or on the day from 9am.

Entry costs $10 for one dog, $15 for two or $20 for three or more.

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