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November 2021

3 women patting a black labradore jpeg
Peter Mac nurses Carmen Larkin, Carol Greenan and Freya Dowling meet Olive the labrador during a break.

Pat a pet for pure pleasure

Pet therapy dogs have been visiting Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre for yea

rs to lift patients’ mood and, recently they have been back with a different focus.

‘Staff at the Peter Mac, like so many other hospitals across Melbourne, are in need of support at this time,’ said Lort Smith head of hospital Dr David Cunliffe.

Dogs from the animal hospital – that have special training to go into hospital environments – have been walking through office and outdoor spaces at Peter Mac for staff to pat during their breaks.

This is part of a range of initiatives over recent weeks – starting with RUOK Day in September and running through to World Mental Health Day in October – designed to support good mental health at Peter Mac.

Around 800 Peter Mac staff tuned in across a whole day of online sessions in October on topics including mindfulness and a yoga demonstration, common tips for mental wellbeing, getting better sleep and advice for parents with children in home learning.

There were also speakers from Beyond Blue and Turning Point addressing rising alcohol consumption during lockdowns.

‘The mental health of our people is going to be a real focus for us over the next year at least,’ Peter Mac’s Chief Executive Officer Professor Shelley Dolan told staff.