A DOG on a skateboard may be an unusual sight, but it’s a regular one for aged care residents in Bacchus Marsh.
Every Thursday, little Rusty and Qed – a pair of pintsized papillon pups – visit Villa Maria Catholic Homes' Providence aged care facility to show off their canine circus tricks.
Led by their owner, volunteer Robyn Youl, the playful pooches work the room for cuddles and pats before bringing smiles to the residents’ faces with tricks including skateboarding, playing the keyboard and counting with barks.
Robyn and her husband Barry began volunteering their pet show at disability and aged care sites across Bacchus Marsh after retiring 20 years ago
The pair, who live in the adjoining Providence Retirement Village, both had parents who lived at the aged care residence before they passed away, so volunteering there holds a special place in their hearts.
“We started out with labradors and schnauzers, but they became a bit much to handle so we downsized to papillons,” Robyn said.
“It’s a lively show. Qed often has ‘days on strike’ and the residents just love it when he rebels and ignores my commands!”
She said the joy on the residents’ faces as they interact with the dogs is plain to see.
Some reminisce about their former pets and give Robyn tips on how to keep Qed “in line”.
Resident Kata, who was terrified of dogs after she was attacked as a child, has overcome her fears thanks to the weekly visits, and is now one of the duo’s biggest fans.
Papillon dog breed descends from the toy spaniels and are known to be highly active and wonderful competitors in agility and obedience. They are known for their sparkling personalities.
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