• Four-legged volunteers ‘bark’ joy to residents

    Four-legged volunteers ‘bark’ joy to residents

    Resthaven Paradise’s own canine volunteer, Shadow, ‘barks’ joy to residents each week, accompanied by his owner, and Resthaven volunteer, Russell Dahms.

    ‘Shadow is my nine-year-old male Siberian husky, who loves meeting new people during our pet therapy sessions,’ Russell explains.

    Russell and Shadow

    ‘We started volunteering with Resthaven Paradise in July [2021]. The staff and residents have absolutely fallen in love with Shadow, and the feeling is mutual.’

    ‘I discovered he loves one on one, and group sessions with residents.’

    ‘It is now at the stage where he sits by the gate, waiting to go to Resthaven Paradise! We will often visit more than once a week – he just loves it.’

    ‘Occasionally, I take along some treats that residents can give him, and he is always looking for them!’

    Shadow is not the only cuddly volunteer making an appearance at Resthaven Paradise these days.

    ‘My other husky is Flicker, a two-year-old Siberian husky, crossed with poodle and Manchester terrier. She is quite shy, and so she only occasionally visits with us, and residents love cuddling her when she does.’

    ‘It never ceases to amaze me to see the big smile on residents’ faces when they meet the huskies, especially those experiencing memory loss.’

    ‘A lot of residents used to own dogs themselves, and they particularly enjoy having a canine friend again.’

    In speaking with Russell, Angela Snowball, Volunteer Services and Special Projects Support Officer, remarked, ‘I can’t believe how well you know your way around Resthaven Paradise!’

    Russell laughed and said it was Shadow who was leading him – Shadow knew where to go.

    ‘One resident told me that on the days their family were unable to make it, a visit from Shadow and Russell becomes the highlight of their day,’ Ange explained.

    When Shadow and Flicker aren’t visiting residents, you will find them enjoying long walks in Linear Park, or having a run in one of the local dog parks.

    Our special thanks to Russell Dahms for sharing his four-legged friends with Resthaven, and volunteer photographer, Monica Cugnier Machado, for taking these amazing photographs of Russell and Shadow’s visit.

    Resthaven welcomes new volunteers, not just the four-legged variety, to join the team. To find out how to volunteer with us, please click here.

    Apply here to volunteer