A dog on a skateboard may be an unusual sight, but it’s a regular one for residents of Providence aged care residence, Bacchus Marsh.
Managed by not for profit organisation VMCH, Providence host a visit from Rusty and Qed the Papillon dogs every Thursday for their K9 circus performance.
Led by their owner, volunteer Robyn Youl, the cute canines 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 (below) began volunteering their pet show after they retired 20 years ago at disability and aged care sites across Bacchus Marsh.
The pair, who live in the adjoining Providence Retirement Village, both had parents who lived at Providence 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!”
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 (pictured below), who was once terrified of canines due to being attacked as a child, has overcome her fears thanks to the weekly visits, and is now one of the duo’s biggest fans.