Many of us remain unaware of the physical and mental health benefits that can also accompany the pleasure of snuggling up to a furry friend. It’s only recently, that studies have begun to scientifically explore the benefits of the human-animal bond. At RMHC Sydney, we witness every day, the difference that having a furry friend can make, in days that are filled with tiring hospital treatments and extended periods away from home, thanks to our resident therapy-dog-in-training – Wilbur.
Wilbur is a 3 ½ year old labradoodle who has been the House Dog at RMHC Sydney since he was 8 weeks old. It was instant love, both for Wilbur and those who call RMHC Sydney their home-away-from home. Kids knew that Wilbur would be waiting for them at the end of the day, even though their own pets from home could not. Always ready for a snuggle, just when they needed it. Wilbur also became a reason for patients who have extended repeat treatment, a happy reason to return to Sydney.
Pet therapy builds on the pre-existing human-animal bond. Interacting with a friendly pet can help many physical and mental issues. It can help reduce blood pressure and improve overall cardiovascular health. It can also release endorphins that produce a calming effect. This can help alleviate pain, reduce stress, and improve your overall psychological state. While people with pets often experience the greatest health benefits, a pet doesn’t necessarily have to be a dog or a cat. Even watching fish in an aquarium can help reduce muscle tension and lower pulse rate.
As Chief Cheer Officer (CCO) at RMHC Sydney, Wilbur has the best job in the world – making sick kids smile. This month Wilbur is inviting you to join him as he embarks on a mission to make kids smile through sharing the various facets of his personality that families at the House have come to love. Whether your pet is, lazy, cheeky, active or spoilt rotten, we want to see your pet’s personality shine as they take a stand for sick kids.