1 April 2020

Bear the Golden Retriever brings smiles to clients at Arcare St James

Lifestyle Co-ordinator Linda has been bringing in her 1-year-old Golden Retriever named Bear to the Arcare Helensvale St James residence.

Since December 2019, Linda decided to bring Bear in because she knew he would be perfect for the clients.

He is naturally very calm around other people and because of his size, people can interact with him more easily.

For example, during their morning exercises, Bear would go up to the clients and say hello to everyone. While they are doing their exercises, Bear would calmly relax and lie at a client’s feet.

The clients all love him and when they see him coming down the hallway, they always call out to him or reach out to pat him.

‘I love seeing the reactions from the clients when Bear goes around to meet them,’ Linda says.

When Bear’s not here, they are always asking ‘Where’s Bear?’ and ‘How is Bear?’.

Linda often shares stories of what Bear is like at home with the clients. Linda nicknames him Captain Hoover as when he goes into clients’ rooms, he keeps his nose down on the ground, sniffing for food.

Bear isn’t usually allowed to stand up in clients’ beds but Linda makes the exception for 90-year-old Jeanette Minney who is bed-bound.

When she sees Bear, Jeanette will excitedly reach out to pat and hug him.

The first time Linda brought Bear into Jeanette’s room, Bear extraordinarily jumped onto Jeanette’s bed and Linda was shocked. But Jeanette grabbed him and gave him a big cuddle with lots of kisses.

Now, instead of fully jumping onto her bed, Bear puts his front two paws on her bed so she can easily pat him and blow kisses to him.

Another client named Kathy Beresford has dementia but when she interacts with Bear, she can always retell stories of her past pet, also a Golden Retriever, with detail and clarity.

One story she shares in detail is how her dog used to pick up its comb and drop it at her feet for her to brush him.

When asked about the impact Bear is making, Linda shares, ‘Families sometimes bring their dogs in to say hi to specific clients, but Bear is for everybody at Arcare St James. And each client has a different relationship to him.’

And Bear is certainly bringing a smile to everyone at Arcare St James.

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