Lort Smith is thrilled to be named as a finalist in the category Improving the health and wellbeing of young Victorians for its work with disadvantaged youth for the 2019 VicHealth Awards.
Lort Smith Pet Therapy volunteers take their specially assessed dogs to hospitals and residential care services across Melbourne, providing comfort and relief to people experiencing illness, adversity and loneliness. They also provide stress relief, respite and support to facility staff, who often work in very challenging environments, where a hug or a moment spent connecting with an animal can act as a circuit breaker, bringing a calming effect.
The people that Lort Smith Pet Therapy teams visit tend to be at particularly vulnerable points in their lives. The interaction with one of our specially trained dogs, can have incredible results.
This year the program, in partnership with the Department of Justice and Community Safety and Parkville College, extended its reach to provide animal-assisted intervention for young people attending Parkville College.
The VicHealth Awards are the state’s highest accolade for health promotion, recognising the efforts of local grassroots projects to state-wide campaigns and everything in between.