Category Archives: Therapy dog

Thoughts of a rescued greyhound


When my mother was preparing to move to Tasmania, I saw her health falling away. And that was with just 3 weeks of stress. Imagine how it is for a racing greyhound, living with the stress for years. When you see a greyhound that is loosing it’s hair, and it’s back legs are bald…that is the result of the stress of racing. You can only imagine how that dog feels once it learns about it’s new home and life of luxury.

Rassilon’s hair has grown back on his legs and the sides of his chest, and sometimes when we are visiting and people are patting him I can see his hair shedding, but he comes home and gets patted and cuddles and goes to bed, and he is relaxed again. And the more he visits, the more he is enjoying it and not stressing. He has 2 bald spots on his back legs, but I am happy to report that they are caused by his wagging tail rubbing his legs.

In the poem, the one line that get’s to me is…

Got a ball and a bone and a bed that’s all mine.

In the kennels greyhounds have very little to call their own, which is why they can be protective of things when they get into a home. I was lucky and Rassilon was never protective of things and I can even put my hand into his dinner bowl and take food out while he is eating, (this is also a requirement for getting his green collar and for the Therapy Dog Service). Now, with that, I am going to cuddle Rassilon.


Visiting day again

What a great day we had today. We had to go to Bedford Industries today, 10.00am to midday. The good thing is I can’t get lost, because it is just around the corner from the hospital I normally visit.

TDS locations

When we were there one person wanted to take Rassilon for a walk, which is allowed by TDS, but it means putting 2 leashes on Rassilon, so I still have control. Anyway, the guy absolutely loved going out, and when he came in, he went straight to the kitchen to get Rassilon a drink of water.

Dave walking Rassi

Lerttng people take Rassi for a walk means I still have to have control

Later one of the carers gave him a brush so he could brush Rassilon. It turned into a competition to see how many times he gould brush Rassi, and I had to keep count.

Of course, Rassilon was so completely chilled while working with these people who have mental health issues, that when he was being brushed, he climbed up onto the settee to be close.

Dave brushing Rassi

Rassilon took it upon himself to just climb on the furniture

Another resident likes kicking a ball, and will do that all day. But the first time he kicked the ball near Rassilon, poor Rassi nearly had a fit. But very quickly, he got used to it. And in the end, the ball could bang into his legs and he didn’t bother moving. (It was a soft ball, I checked)

In fact, Rassilon was so relaxed that he just lay down and let the guy pat him. Both of them enjoyed themselves.

Jordan patting Rassi

And the cool thing was, although frowned upon by TDS), I was able to let go of Rassilon’s leash and take the photos.

We all had a great time, and it is seeing people and dogs interacting and getting better, that makes therapy work worth the effort.

(P.S. After last week I got new shoes, and my feet are fine even after a 2 hour visit),

Sad visit today.

It was Visitation day at Repat Hospital. We got there early and had a coffee and something to eat, and Rassilon had a pee just before we went into the hospital. We go to visit one guy I used to work with before we go to the wards

Things went as normal, although Rassilon announced his arrival on ward 1, and that got patients ready for his visit. We were going around as normal, then the nurse called me to a bed that had the curtains pulled around it.

Having worked in hospitals I know that curtains pulled means 1 of 2 things. 1; A nurse or doctor is treating the patient and wants privacy, or 2; the nurses don’t want the patient disturbed because they are “not well”.

Ward 1 at Repat hospital is for elderly patients. There was no doctor behind the curtain and no nurse, just the patient and her family, so I had a good idea what that meant. So Rassilon and I went in behind the curtain. Rassi went up to the head of the bed but the nurse had to take the patients hand to pat Rassilon. As we were leaving the bed the nurse said, “Well, at least her last thoughts will be good ones”.

When I worked in Flinders Medical Center I was in the cancer ward, so I got used to patients passing. When I was on the ward and a patient died, we had to take them down to the mortuary, and sadly, being the cancer ward, I got quite used to handling the bodies. In fact, I was only on the ward for about 1 minute before I had to do my first mortuary run.

The nurses would wrap the body in plastic and a sheet, and I had to move the body from the bed to the mortuary trolley,  wheel the trolley down to the mortuary, then move the body from the trolley onto a stretcher bed and into the fridge.

The rest of the visit went without event. Ward 5 was in confusion with patients all over the place. They have days like that on ward 5, which is the dementia ward. Not many people wanted to pat Rassilon today, which is different, normally they gather in the sun room and want to pat him.

Anyway, we finished our visit and came home. My foot started to hurt again, so I am guessing I might need new shoes that will support my foot better. Rassilon got home and went to bed, and that is where he stayed, and where I am about to go.

in bed

Move over, I am coming to bed too.

Busy , expensive day.

Today Rassilon and I went for a drive to Aldinga. We didn’t go to the shopping center, we went to the beach. That was going to be a test for Rassilon because the parking area is on top of the cliffs, with a big stairway down and up.


Stairs all the way down to the beach…not a problem.

Rassilon has dealt with stairs before, but that was a long time ago and not as big a flight as this. However, Rassilon is fantastic and went down the stairs and along the beach and back up the stairs with no problems. When we were walking along the beach, I put his (illegal for greyhounds in South Australia), 100 foot training leash on him, but I doubt if I got it 1/4 unrolled. The way he walked today makes me think I could let him off the leash and he wouldn’t run away. But I am not going to find out.


It was quite windy, but Rassilon loved it.

After that, we went to Reynella to check the mail, and met another therapy dog, although it didn’t appear to be a good example. It’s coat was long and matted and it jumped up at people, something Therapy Dog Service does not allow, plus Rassi has a few tricks he can do.

On the way home from there we stopped off for the expensive bit. Rassilon had to have his vaccination ($99.50). According to the vet he is in perfect condition, and she didn’t mention his weight of 35.6kg.

So here we are at home again, Rassi is in bed already and I am soon going to join him.



A minister, known for his lengthy sermons, noticed a man in the congregation get up and leave for part of the service.

After church, the minister asked him where he had gone.

“To get a haircut” replied the man.

“But why didn’t you do that before the meeting”? asked the minister.

“Because I didn’t need a haircut then” replied that man.


Not a dog!

On our therapy visit this week, the nurse went into a bay of 4 beds and asked if anyone wanted to pat Rassilon. 3 said yes, 1 said no.

So we went to the three that wanted to pat Rassilon  then I went over and sat on the bed of the 4th man, and started to talk about why I go and visit.

He liked the idea, but started telling me that he didn’t like dogs, I pointed out that Rassilon didn’t know he was a dog. Then he told me how he had never had a dog because he didn’t like dogs. His 2 daughters had dogs, but he didn’t pat them because he didn’t like dogs. So I sat there for a few minutes while he went on.

And all the time he was telling me how he didn’t like dogs…he was patting Rassilon.

THAT is why we do therapy visits.

Therapy Dog (4)

Apparently he is not a dog.



It is one of my favorite quotes from Mrs Browns Boys

Scrutinized therapy visit.

The day started off by receiving an email from Therapy Dogs asking for a photo of Rassilon for the new web site and his new ID badge, plus a short write up about him to go with the photo on the web site.

Today Rassilon and I had a visit to Bedford Industries. It is an organisation that employs or looks after people with increasing levels of mental health issues.

Jody, the boss of Therapy dogs came along to show me what to do. There were only 6 people in the room, but they were the ones with more intense issues, so dealing with them was ‘quite interesting’. Fortunately there were only 2 of them that were ‘demanding’, and the others got on well with Rassilon and I.

Jody took a few photos of Rassilon doing his ‘thing’. One guy started bouncing on an exercise ball, which caught Rassilons attention, so he climbed up on the settee to look over the back and see what the guy was doing (photo). Another guy started to dance so I got Rassilon standing up on his back legs and dancing (photo). The people enjoyed that!

Of course everyone, patients, carers and Jody, all thought it was fantastic that Rassilon would speak on command, and today he did really well. He barked every time he was asked to, and he (mostly) kept it to a quiet bark.

After meeting the residents, we went through the offices, where the staff fell in love with Rassilon. We always get positive comments about his coloring. The blue is lovely, but I am thinking the fawn / brindle is less common, so more noticeable.

Therapy Dog (4)

Jody said she will send me a letter for the local council saying Rassilon is a registered Therapy dog, that way I don’t have to pay council registration. She also said that she would use the visit as her annual visit assessment, but did say Rassilon did so well he had passed easily.

On the plus side, Jody saw just how Rassilon was all frisky and excited before going into the day room with the residents. Once inside with the people he slowed right down and was slow and gentle and careful. When it was time to leave, frisky and energetic again. When I had to answer a call of nature, Jody had to hold on to Rassilon. When I got back she was so impressed that Rassilon hadn’t gone into a panic when I left, and behaved just as though I was there.

So, it looks like we could get more visits to Bedford Industries, but probably not on a permanent basis. We have also had confirmation that when Repat hospital wards move to Noarlunga hospital, the dog visits will continue, and those visits Will be ours.

Therapy Dog (1)

Rest day tomorrow, then it is Repatriation Hospital on Wednesday. Rassilon really enjoys visiting there, so I hope he will still enjoy visiting when it moves to Noarlunga.

(An interesting note: I was working at Noarlinga Hospital when I had to have Kia put down, and it was Sue in the Medical Records department that suggested a greyhound, so Noarlunga Hospital has a special affinity for us).


A man was out playing golf with his friends. He was on the 7th hole about to tee off when a funeral procession drove past on the road beside the golf course.

The man stopped addressing the ball, took off his cap and bowed his head until the funeral procession had passed.

His friends were very impressed with his reaction and said that it showed great respect to the deceased person.

He replied, “It was the least I could do, she had been a good wife for 25 years”.

Successful University visit.

We have just arrived home from the uni, and we are STUFFED. Who would have thought standing around talking could be so tiring. But time flew by because I was talking about greyhounds.

talk greyhounds

It’s sad, but true.

Rassilon was very well behaved around all the other dogs. Luckily they came up to him in 1s or 2s, so they didn’t overcrowd him. In small doses he is quite happy to give a greyhound greeting sniff, but in groups, he panics.

There were a lot of students there willing to pat the dogs, so Rassilons mind was distracted from the other dogs. And Rassilon was the most popular dog for patting by a few pounds.

Rassi 4

Rassilon and students.

There were the black and the fawn dogs and a dark brindle, but the black doesn’t show up as well on the dark background. Then there was the lovely blue greyhound which would have been the most popular, but it was terribly thin. You could see most of the vertebrae, the hip bones stood up almost an inch and you could see all it’s ribs. She was a lovely dog, but so thin. So by default, the fawn Brindle Rassilon became the most popular. On the bright side, Rassilon is 2.6 Kg over weight, but looking at the other dogs today, they all looked about the same. None of them fitted the ‘perfect’ standard, they all had a bit of extra meat on the bones, apart from the blue, which was painfully thin.

Rassi 2

From just my conversations, I think we convinced a couple of people to foster and one seemed desperate to adopt. She had heard the usual rumors (attack small animals, need lots of exercise, need lots of room, eat lots), which I was able to correct for her. Rassilon answered the ‘needs lots of exercise’ rumor, by falling asleep on her foot.

The good thing for the university was that even with 12 dogs inside, there was (a) No Mess, and (b) No Barking. Of course that meant when Rassilon did speak, it was appreciated by the student, who got to hear a greyhound bark, and the other owners, who were impressed that Rassilon had learned to speak on command. (A command, I should add, aided quite a bit by the presence of food). Rassilon was doing well today, keeping himself to a quiet bark.

I was so impressed with Rassilon today. there were literally hundreds of people in the hall, (there were other events going on as well), and a dozen dogs, but Rassilon showed NO signs of stress.

So it was good to get to mix with other greyhound owners, and to let Rassilon mix with other dogs. If we can do this often enough, he will soon become as comfortable with other dogs in groups as he is with people now.


A man was trapped on a desert island for 15 years. One day he saw a big black thing coming out of the water and walking up the beach. When it got closer he saw it was a beautiful young woman in a wet-suit.

She stood in front of him and asked “When was the last time you had a cigarette”? He said “About 15 years ago”. So she undid a zip in the wet-suit and took out a pack of his favorite cigarettes.

“When was the last time you had a drink”? “About 15 years ago”. So she undid a zip on the other side on the wet=suit and took out a bottle of his favorite scotch. A tear came to his eye.

The young lady started to undo the main zip of the wet-suit and asked “When is the last time you played around”? He replied “Don’t tell me you’ve got a set of golf clubs in there as well”!