Pet therapy

Behind many healthcare workers is a faithful four-footed friend. Physiotherapist Tammy Wells tells us about the joy Kiko her Australian Shepherd brings to her life when the going gets tough.

“I’ve had Kiko since she was an eight week old puppy. I wanted someone to look after and love, and she’s certainly been that and more.
The moment I met her, she immediately captured my heart because she’s so gentle and soft, both inside and out. She’s so mischievous too. In the morning before work, I take her for a big walk around our local park and throw the frisbee for her which she absolutely loves. Then I usually drop her at my parent’s home where she gets the run of the garden. She's very intrigued by my parents' two pet chickens. It’s much better for her to be there rather than cooped up in my apartment all day waiting for me to come home.
Every night when I go to pick her up after work, she is just ecstatic. Her whole body wiggles with glee and she thumps her tail like crazy and gives these muffled yelps of joy. It’s so nice for someone to be that pleased to see you!
We have a great time playing together. She has a squeaky toy giraffe that she carries around in her mouth and squeaks it when she's happy. Her favourite dinner is chicken, carrots and lambs ears. At night when she wants some affection she gently rests her head in my lap. 

It’s really fun planning weekends and holidays with her. She comes with me everywhere I go - to the beach, out for coffee, to the market. Recently my boyfriend and I took her glamping in the Hunter Valley and she was just in heaven. She visited wineries, went for swims in the river and even came on a bike ride with us.

She slept between us in our tent and loved exploring all the new country smells and meeting the animals around us. She was especially fascinated by the horses and alpacas. Kiko really is like part of the family. She’s 16 months old and the strange thing is I just can’t image life without her.”

Tammy with Kiko