Team: Palliative Paws
I have been a volunteer with EPC as part of the Palliative Paws program for just over a year. I know what a difference dogs can make to a person’s mental health and wellbeing, especially for the isolated elderly and unwell, so I jumped at the chance to be part of EPC as a dog walker.
While I expected to enjoy spending time with the canine clients, I did not expect to be so struck by the kindness, strength and grace of the human ones. I have had the opportunity to meet some wonderful families that I will not forget, who have taught me a lot about resilience and compassion. What is unsurprisingly most difficult is the inevitable departure with both humans and dogs that you grow fond of. On a smaller scale, it can also be challenging arranging visits since clients can have a lot to coordinate with other doctors, volunteers and visitors. As a full time worker myself, there can also be meetings to work around at my end. It is a little tricky to find the right balance between reliability and flexibility.
If there is one good thing to come out of COVID19, I hope it is a return to community focus and greater flexibility for everyone to better balance work, family, leisure time and volunteering and enable more people to become involved in volunteer programs such as those offered by EPC.