Comet, a three-year-old Labradoodle dog, is the newest worker at a Queensland children’s dental clinic.
The therapy dog keeps children calm during appointments and is a much-loved member of Paediatric Dental Group.
“He’s got a lovely nature,” Rae Morris, Business Manager at Paediatric Dental Group, said.
“The children just love it and we’ve found, even in the workplace, it changes the whole atmosphere, the days Comet’s here, so it’s great.”
Comet is Dr Ford’s pet dog and earlier this year, he trained as a certified animal assisted therapy dog with Therapy Dogs Australia.
“Dr Ford got Comet with the view to training him, from a puppy, as a therapy dog,” Ms Morris said.
“He’s been working with us now for approximately three months.”
Comet has worked with about 100 children in the past three months.
He follows Dr Ford to consultations across the dental clinic’s three branches in Alderley, Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba and works between one to two days a week.
“Dr Ford is a specialist paediatric dentist, so we only treat children and as such, a lot of children are very anxious around coming to the dentist,” Ms Morris said.
“So general dentists refer patients to Dr Ford as a specialist. We also see a lot of special needs children.
“There can be a lot of anxiety when they first attend and Comet’s able to pick up on this and assist in trying to calm the situation.”
Comet is only allowed in certain areas of the clinic in order to meet strict hygiene regulations.
Parents who choose Comet’s services must sign a permission form, which allows the canine to comfort their children during appointments.
“Depending on what the child wants, sometimes he just sits near them and they pat his head while they’re having the treatment done,” Ms Morris said.
“He might even pop up and sort of lay on their lap while they actually have the treatment.”
The popular pooch has had a positive impact on the children and his colleagues.
“It’s actually been phenomenal,” Ms Morris said.