A Launceston palliative care volunteer and her partner, a schnauzer King Charles cross, have been recognised at the 5th Annual Tasmanian Palliative Care Awards.
Carer and therapy dog handler Edwina Colvin and her six-year-old schnauzer Tilly were recognised for their service, winning the Outstanding Palliative Care Volunteer.
As an experienced volunteer across various facilities, Ms Colvin said she identified a need within some patients for animal companionship she thought Tilly could fill.
"People who have often had dogs and like dogs, but have become more elderly miss having a pet around them," she said.
"It's a comfort that they have an animal that is relaxed and happy around them."
Ms Colvin took up volunteering after retiring, and saw within her four-legged companion a possible solution.
With the accreditation process running through an organisation in Melbourne, Ms Colvin explained she spent several weeks completing online modules and tests before Tilly could take on the big job.
Since hitting the wards, Tilly has become hugely popular with patients and staff, with many taking time out of their day to have a pet and say hi.
"She's very popular," she said. "She's nearly as popular with the staff and the doctors as she is with the patients."
Prolific volunteers, Ms Colvin and Tilly visit patients at the Allambi and Melwood palliative care units, as well as home visits for some patients.
Although a very well behaved dog, Tilly is also a bit of an opportunist while on the job.
"She loves it when people are in bed because she can hop onto the bed and she's not allowed on the bed at home, she's quite disappointed If they're in a chair," she said.
"If she's on a bed, she just tends to lie out along the edge of them with her head up near them and they can pet her, the more unwell they are the quieter she lies."
With genuine modesty, Ms Colvin said she was honoured by the award, but said all palliative care volunteers deserved recognition.
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