© Paws for Diabetics Inc, 2006 - 2013. ABN 26 994 694 733
Breed: Groodle (Golden retriever X poodle)
Owner: Arlene Taylor
Fully Accredited Assistance Dog
With a name like Hope, an adorable face, and unlimited personality, it’s no wonder this groodle is so popular. Hope was the first groodle to join the Paws for Diabetics program. She’s also the first service dog to belong to a doctor in Australia.
Every day Arlene goes to work she takes Hope to the hospital; both literally and figuratively. Hope’s presence brings a smile to people’s faces wherever she goes. Even though her behaviour is exceptional she finds ways to show her personality and weave herself into the staff fabric of the hospital. While Hope is there to alert Arlene to hypos before they happen, she’s demonstrated time and time again that she has her own way of identifying which patients are particularly unwell. Being a doctor takes a lot of focus, so having Hope there to look out for hypos allows Arlene to get on with her day’s work without disruption.
Holidaying with Hope is as much fun as working with her. She has a fascination for fish tanks and has thoroughly enjoyed the Sydney Aquarium on the four occasions she has been lucky enough to go. Hope can even say she was the first assistance dog ever to ride on the glass bottom boat at the aquarium. She is a natural poser which makes taking her to places like Madame Tussauds a delight: It isn’t unusual to have tourists following her around attractions photographing her instead of themselves.
As well as having a keen eye for fish tanks and being a poser for the camera, Hope enjoys watching TV. One of her favourite movies is The Lion King, and any screening will guarantee you an opportunity to see Hope glued to the screen and pulling all sorts of amazed faces at the characters. Her taste for entertainment is not limited to the flat screen as she has also enjoyed seeing Legally Blonde the Musical and Swan Lake the ballet on several occasions. Her Christmas present for 2013 will be a trip to see The Lion King the Musical.
It’s not unusual for Staff working on the same wards as Arlene to hear the occasional bark when Hope alerts. While this isn’t Hope’s primary alerting behaviour (she would normally lick or nibble Arlene’s hands) it happens once in a while when Arlene’s hands are occupied completing her own work. Long shifts can be hard for a young groodle and some concessions are made for Hope when she decides it’s cuddle time late in the day (despite weighing 24kg Hope remains convinced she is a small lap dog). From the perspective of Arlene’s patients, Hope’s winning personality and attractiveness make her a popular addition to the treating team; in fact, many patients report feeling better and are discharged home earlier than planned after a visit from this unique team.
For Arlene, being the doctor with the dog places her in the spotlight on a regular basis: As the first doctor-service dog team in Australia, there are some challenges; but being the first to do anything always has its challenges. Saying all of that, having Hope at work means Arlene can get through a day without becoming incapacitated from a hypoglycaemic episode; giving her the chance to continue in her medical career and work towards her goal of becoming a combined clinical pharmacologist/clinical toxicologist. So, in so many ways Hope lives up to her name each day!