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Performing collies give residents paws for thought

An aged care home in East Melbourne was the stage for a troupe of performing border collies, as part of the provider’s effort to mark World Alzheimer’s Day.

Mercy Place East Melbourne welcomed a quartet of clever canines, called The Wonderdogs, to show off their tricks to residents, family members and staff.

Trainer of The Wonderdogs Kelly Gill said the troupe has been lucky enough to perform in multiple aged care homes across New South Wales. “It’s extremely rewarding to see the smiles on everyone’s faces,” Gill said. “Often people relate to a certain dog as it reminds them of a relationship they’ve had with a dog in the past.”

Mercy Health said animal companionship is an important feature of its model of residential aged care.

Chief executive of aged & community care Kevin Mercer said every Mercy Health aged care home either has a live-in pet or receives regular animal visits.

“We aim to nurture all of our residents’ needs including their health, emotional, social and spiritual wellbeing, and we find pets and intergenerational activities have an extremely positive impact,” Mercer said.

“Pets of all shapes and sizes provide people living with dementia an opportunity to express their emotions, reminisce about their past and develop new bonds.”

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