Rotary fundraiser to buy therapy dog for Medical Ward
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14 September 2016
 
The Whanganui Daybreak Rotary Club is hosting a fundraising rugby event to help them purchase a large therapy dog for Whanganui Hospital’s Medical Ward.
 
About two years ago, the Medical Ward purchased a therapy dog and cat for their cognitively-impaired patients who find both animals so realistic they often sit for hours stroking them as they would do with their own pets.
 
Medical Ward clinical nurse manager Colleen Hill says the fact the therapy animals gently rise and fall as if they are breathing seems to have a calming effect on patients who can become anxious due to their condition.
 
“After seeing how much our patients love these ‘animals’ I was delighted when Rotary approached us to see if we would like a larger life-size dog,” Mrs Hill says.
 
“I’ve been in discussion with Daybreak Rotary Club member Sandy McDougall, who’s keen to support the Medical Ward’s widely-respected ‘Care with Dignity’ programme for cognitively-impaired patients.
 
“Daybreak Rotary Club is aware the programme has drawn interest from many quarters including Minister of Health Jonathan Coleman, who along with local MP Chester Borrows visited the ward in March of this year to see first-hand how the programme works,” Mrs Hill says. “While they were here we showed them the tactile toys and activities staff use to create a calming environment for our patients.”
 
Ms McDougall says she’s sure the therapy dog the Daybreak Rotary Club wants to purchase will appeal to patients used to having a larger dog.
 
“So we’re inviting members of the public to come along to our rugby event which we’re hosting at the Commercial Club (27 Hatrick Street) on Saturday, 17 September at 7pm. I’m sure that there will be a few South African supporters hoping for a win or at the very least a very competitive game.
 
“Ticket numbers will be limited to 70 at $15 each (children under the age of 13 years are welcome at no charge). Please contact me, Sandy McDougall, by phoning 027 3421 853 or alternatively sandy.mcdougall@wdhb.org.nz to register your attendance.”