Tracey Bettson is one of Arcare Brighton’s longest serving team members, having worked within the community as a carer and now as a lifestyle assistant, over the course of the past seven years.
Soon after Tracey began working at the Arcare Brighton community, she asked management if she could bring her two dogs, Rosie and Tess into work with her. Believing that the dogs would help provide emotional and social support to the clients, Tracey proposed that the dogs visit the residence a few times a week. The program was successful, as the clients grew to look forward to seeing their panting smiles and wagging tails.
“I have been bringing my dogs to work with me for about 15 years and to work at Arcare for 6 years in total. They come to work with me, about 3 to 4 times a week, sometimes more.” Tracey said.
Unfortunately Rosie and Tess have since passed away, however Tracey has continued the program by bringing in her two new dogs, Bobby and Billie to visit the clients. The Maltese cross Shitzu dogs started visiting the Arcare Brighton community in May 2017, and have quickly captured the hearts of several clients.
The father and son duo, Bobby and Billie respectively, now join clients on their morning walk around the neighbourhood, and enjoy jumping up on various client’s beds and giving them a cuddle and lick on the cheek.
The dogs also join the nursing team on their medication rounds, to help show a little bit of extra love and attention to those who need it most. While some clients were a little resistant to having the dogs around at first, many were persuaded by their adorable furry faces, and now enjoy and appreciate the cuddles and love that the dogs bring. Many now welcome the dogs, with some even encouraging Billie and Bobby to travel around with them and sit on the front of their walkers.
“The clients and their families just love them. They say it makes it feel like home.” Tracey said.
Over their time visiting Arcare Brighton, the dogs have certainly been able to determine who some of their ‘favourites’ are within the community. 88 year old, Jocelyn Lee and 92 year-old Reynold Lee have both developed quite close connections with the furry friends, frequently sneaking food to them under the table at lunch and dinner time. The clients always like to have a chuckle at the dogs’ excited reactions when food is dropped or offered to them; there is no way they will ever be knocking back good food.