Companion Dog brings a smile to Tony Quinlan Respite Centre clients


On 7th January, Southern Plus’ Tony Quinlan Respite Centre welcomed the newest member of its team who has already become a big hit with clients and staff alike – ‘Clover’ the Labrador Companion Dog


As part of an initiative with Guide Dogs WA, Clover is based at Tony Quinlan Respite Centre every weekday to provide support and friendship to our clients. Before Clover came to Tony Quinlan, a Guide Dogs WA trainer spent time at the centre to observe and understand the best type of dog for clients and staff. Clover was chosen because she had the perfect qualities and temperament for the role of Companion Dog in a facility like the Tony Quinlan Respite Centre. Clover is engaging, adaptable, confident, responsive, very friendly, and has a wonderful easy going and playful character.


Guide Dogs WA dogs such as Clover are highly trained companions and therefore are ‘working’ dogs. As such, Clover needs to be treated a little differently to a ‘pet’ dog. Guide Dogs WA have provided Tony Quinlan staff with extensive handler trainer and helped establish a routine for Clover to ensure she maintains her training and brings joy, companionship and well-being to our clients.


SCC’s Dementia Services Manager, Rejane Le Grange said research had shown the many health and wellness benefits that dogs bring to older people, especially those living with dementia.


“It is widely acknowledged that companion dogs provide so many physical, emotional and cognitive benefits for seniors and those living with dementia. In the short time Clover has been at Tony Quinlan, clients have already bonded with her and look forward to spending time with Clover. A number of our clients are dog enthusiasts and have had dogs of their own over the years, so Clover conjures up many happy memories for them of times gone by that they enjoyed with their own pets. Sometimes just stoking Clover provides companionship and sensory soothing needed.”