UPLIFTED: Zulu the dog visits Mackay man Terry Pepi, who is recovering at Princess Alexandra Hospital. INSET: Terry and his wife Helen Pepi.
UPLIFTED: Zulu the dog visits Mackay man Terry Pepi, who is recovering at Princess Alexandra Hospital. INSET: Terry and his wife Helen Pepi. Contributed

Pooch’s special visit lifts spinal patient’s spirits

A VISIT from Zulu the Collie really cheered up Mackay man Terry Pepi.

He's a patient in Princess Alexandra Hospital's spinal injury unit.

This Christmas Delta Dog volunteers made special visits to offer extra care through pet therapy.

"It's really nice to have a piece of normality in the rehab ward, which is a place most people won't need to come," Terry said.

"Spinal injury rehabilitation is such a long journey with all the routines of life on the ward so seeing the dog walk through the door really lifts your spirits.

"Just seeing that dog... I thought to myself I'm going to get myself a pup (when I'm out of hospital)."

His wife Helen is more than supportive of the idea.

"He's been talking about a dog. We've just got this thing... I can feel how he's feeling (and) as soon as he talks about a dog... definitely lifts his spirits immensely," she said.

"I think it will be a great companion for him."

Princess Alexandra Hospital volunteer services manager Tanya Barton said the Delta Pet Program was an amazing opportunity to provide health and wellbeing for patients.

"Animals are such an amazing therapy for patients in our hospital, particularly those in long-term rehabilitation," Ms Barton said.

"They really do brighten up our patients, not to mention our staff, when they visit."

Zulu's owner Rosie Parker regularly visited the Spinal Injuries Unit with her pooch.

"Zulu loves his visiting days. He knows something is up when he gets brushed early on a Sunday morning and his bandana appears."

Delta Dogs

  •  Delta Therapy Dogs is a heart warming program that brings the joys of animal companionship to those who need it most.
  •  The team brightens the lives of about 20,000 Australians in hospitals and care facilities each week.

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