Being in hospital or having a mental illness can be a very stressful experience, especially for children. But receiving a visit from a four-legged friend can help children feel calmer and happier. That’s why Kristy Teunissen takes her therapy dogs, Harlow, Scout and Chip, to hospitals and schools, bringing joy and comfort to anxious, sick or troubled kids and older people.
Therapy dogs have been shown to help decrease stress hormones and improve behavioural issues in children. They also provide emotional, social and physical support, and improve concentration, relaxation and mood.
Kristy’s therapy dogs have brought healing to headspace Darwin, primary and secondary school students, Darwin and Palmerston hospitals and aged care centres. Kids and older people alike enjoy the calming, friendly presence of the dogs and look forward to giving Harlow, Scout and Chip a pat or a paw shake.
Kristy also helps with fundraising activities at Royal Darwin Hospital and works with headspace to raise awareness during Mental Health Week.