Hiro is one of our newest volunteers at Lort Smith, having joined us in January 2021. Hiro completed a Certificate II in Animal Studies in 2020, and joined Lort Smith in the Concierge role as a way to expand his skillset and give back to the community.
As a concierge volunteer, Hiro spends his shift greeting Lort Smith clients and their pets as they arrive at the hospital. He checks-in patients for their appointment, answers any questions people might have, helps clients navigate to their consult room, and assists in creating a welcoming, non-judgmental environment.
“I know first-hand that coming to the hospital can be really difficult, and my role is simply to do whatever I can to support people while they’re here. I try to be a positive influence and make their visit a little less difficult,” explains Hiro.
“It’s what I enjoy the most about the role – I feel like I’m helping people in a really tangible way. Whether it’s physically pushing through an emergency patient or just helping weigh a dog, it feels really special to be able to help.”
Hiro says the most rewarding part of the role is seeing the progress of patients that require repeat visits, and building a connection with both the patient and their carer.
“It can be sad to see them keep coming back for treatment, but ultimately it’s wonderful to see clients come out of a consult and say they won’t be coming back for a few weeks because their pet has recovered!”
Hiro recalls a time when he was asked to help bring in some patients from the car park on one of his first weeks in the concierge role.
“I was just handed this box of puppies! They must have only been six weeks old, and had been brought in for their first vaccinations. They were too small to even jump out of the box!”
One of the highlights of the role for Hiro is that he gets to see the variety of animals that come through Lort Smith’s doors.
“There was one time when a wildlife carer came in with this cloth bag, and it turned out to be baby wombats! They were all snuggled into each other and were very cute.”
Hiro has also seen snakes, ferrets, lizards and guinea pigs come through our doors, and loves getting to meet patients that he might not otherwise be able to.
Hiro has some pets of his own – a cat named Ronny, and some saltwater fish, including a clownfish pair. Ronny is eight, but still very lively, and has been known to chase shoelaces around the house.
When he’s not volunteering with Lort Smith, Hiro works at the University of Melbourne in the IT Department, and loves to play music. Recently, Hiro has written the soundtrack for a short film that he’s hoping will be featured in a festival later in the year.
Like so many of our volunteers, Hiro brings a diverse range of skills to our team of almost 400 volunteers, who we will be celebrating as part of National Volunteer Week!