Belalie's paws-itive pooch

COMPANION: Vicki Orlando with Misty at Belalie Lodge in Jamestown.
COMPANION: Vicki Orlando with Misty at Belalie Lodge in Jamestown.

A dog who previously suffered anxiety has been given access to the halls of Belalie Lodge in Jamestown, joining her owner Vicki, who between the two share a very special bond.

Vicki Orlando is the residential services manager at the homes and for the past seven months, has been bringing her dog Misty, a seven-year-old Maltese shih tzu to work with her.

Misty joined the family when she was six-weeks-old and was a companion dog for Vicki's husband who at the time had cancer.

After his passing, Misty suffered anxiety as she had grown accustomed to having company all day long.

Vicki explains that whilst she was at work, Misty had been howling, barking and crying all day long and it was clear that there was issue with her.

"I came up here to Jamestown as agency and it was five days a week. She was being left at home with my brother in Adelaide and I missed her terribly. I was up here for quite a bit of time with the agency working for Helping Hand and I said no, I can't do it, I miss my dog too much."

Upon her return to work, travelling from Adelaide to Jamestown, she found that she too was suffering from being apart from Misty and was on the verge of sacrificing her position until she was given a convincing offer.

FURRY FRIEND: Misty wanders around Belalie Lodge in Jamestown.

FURRY FRIEND: Misty wanders around Belalie Lodge in Jamestown.

"There were some discussions of whether I stay on and I said 'no I miss my dog', but then they said what if you could have your dog with you.

"Ever since then Misty comes to work with me. She wanders around the facility, she visits different residents. The staff love it, the majority of the residents enjoy her. Those that don't, I keep her away from those areas," Vicki explained.

As a guard dog, companion dog, therapy dog and pet; Misty is now part of the furniture at Belalie Lodge and she has been able to recover from her anxiety as well as become part of the Belalie family.

"They love her, they absolutely love her. There are certain residents that we go and visit particularly. We take her for visits to those rooms and we may only be in there for five minutes but the joy on their faces

"They know who she is, they know who she belongs too. I think it is unconditional love. They put no limits, they take a lot from people," she said in explaining residents' relationships with animals.

"If I couldn't have Misty with me, I wouldn't work, I would be at home. I enjoy working and being able to have her here."

The general manager of Helping Hand Syd Farrell explains that they are always trying to enhance the experience and quality of life for those in their communities and Misty's role at Belalie Lodge in Jamestown is just one part of it.

"Helping Hand care homes across the state are home to many animals and pets such as fish, birds, chickens, cats and visiting dogs. Helping Hand Port Pirie has recently constructed an animal yard to allow large animals to visit," Syd said.