Labrador Molly has a nose for companionship as she visits residents at Emmaus aged care in Port Macquarie.
The one-year-old canine is a welcome, and sometimes tear-inducing sight, during her tours a couple of times a week.
Her owner and Emmaus director of care, Natalie Dodd said Molly has been strutting the corridors for about two months.
"Either myself or the lifestyle team will actually take her around," she said.
"She's been to bingo with about 30 residents, she's spent a whole day in the dementia support unit with 26 residents.
"All their faces light up as soon as she walks through the door, it's beautiful to see."
Molly's visits this week coincide with World Animal Day, an international day of action for animal rights and welfare celebrated on October 4.
Ms Dodd said the compassionate canine brings new energy to the aged care facility as she makes her off leash rounds.
"It's certainly bringing a new life and companion to the facility. A lot of them will have had pets before and this way we are supporting that prior engagement," she said.
"Molly will often sit on the ground next to some residents and stay there, or walk around to the bedside and give their hand a bit of a nudge.
"She will also hang out in the office spaces with staff too, it's really nice for them.
"She enjoys her visits and is absolutely exhausted by the end of the day."
Animal visits provide comfort, entertainment, distraction, solace and a unique form of interaction at health facilities. They also create a source of assistance in education and supporting patients through clinical procedures, according to NSW Health guidelines.
Therapy dogs can improve the quality of life by increasing cognitive abilities, lowering heart rate, increased speech and memory function and heighten mental clarity, according to Guide Dogs NSW.
Emmaus resident John Boyd said there are no words to describe the joy of seeing and patting a dog each day.
"It's hard to say how to feel, I love them and they are always coming around here," he said.
"I've had dogs before, it's just so nice to see animals come through."
Port Macquarie Dachshund Group (PMDG) members and their four-legged friends also visit residents at Emmaus aged care in Port Macquarie on a weekly basis.
The visits each Tuesday began after a successful trial run on June 18 this year.
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