Rusty the Cavoodle to Join The Tweddle Team

Rusty the Cavoodle to Join The Tweddle Team

By Kerrie Gottliebsen

Tweddle Child and Family Health Service will soon be welcoming a furry team member as part of the residential program. A specially trained and registered therapy dog ‘Rusty the Cavoodle’ will be coming in weekly to spend time with families.

Rusty and his mum Samantha are from Delta Therapy Dogs, a heart-warming program that brings the joys of animal companionship an estimated 20,000 Australians in hospitals and care facilities every week. Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) is an evidence based approach which supports babies, toddlers and adults who may be experiencing disruption in the infant-parent relationship. Interacting with a therapy dog allows participants to explore the development of skills such as tone of voice, tolerance and trust.

AAT has become a common method among counselors, psychologists, and therapists working with children who have complex needs. Therapy animals have contributed to countless health, social, behavioural and emotional benefits. Studies have shown psychological benefits of support dogs in areas of stress and anxiety. The presence of such an animal can divert attention away from what is causing the stress and / or anxiety (Leaser 2005).

Samantha, mother of two children aged 5 and 7 explained why she became a Delta Therapy Dogs volunteer. “I have struggled with ongoing depression and anxiety since I was a teen and suffered post-natal depression after my first child” she said  “My children were both terrified of dogs as toddlers for no apparent reason so we decided to get a puppy so they could help look after him and see that they are not so scary. Also I love dogs and always wanted one!  My children now love dogs and even practice training with Rusty, they feed him and walk him too!”

“We then did some fostering of cats and kittens as we had more love to give” she said “Before I had children I worked in childcare with children 6 weeks to 4 years old. Now the time has come and both my children are at school which has left me with a lot of time on my hands. I’m excited to start this new chapter with delta dogs and Tweddle where rusty and I can visit and bring a sense of calm and ease as people spend time with us”

Rusty the Cavoodle is looking forward to coming to Tweddle. “My name is Rusty and I am two and half years old.  I have a number of things I enjoy doing, some of them include (but are not limited to)  chasing birds, lying out in the sun, playing with my dog cousins, snuggling on the couch with my humans, wrestling with my cat brother Austin, playing fetch (literally over and over and over again) and of course getting a good scratch under my chin. I can’t wait to come and meet everyone and spend some time having pats and cuddles!


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