One of Latrobe Health Services ‘pet’ projects is its sponsorship of Honeybell, a golden retriever puppy at Morwell Neighbourhood House who is being trained as the first therapy dog in a Victorian neighbourhood house.

Honeybell had a setback in mid-June, when the then five-and-a-half-month-old puppy got tangled in her lead and the legs of neighbourhood house manager Tracie Lund and ended up with a spiral fracture of her left hind leg. The incident happened in Melbourne as Ms Lund was picking up Honeybell from a training session, so she was quickly taken to a specialist vet in Moorabbin for expert treatment.

Everyone at Latrobe Health Services has been relieved to hear that Honeybell is making excellent progress. Six weeks into her recovery, Honeybell is out of her bandages, doing three, 25-minute walks a day and having hydrotherapy once a week. Ms Lund said Honeybell’s vets were very pleased with her progress and that she was expected to make a full recovery.

Although her training was stopped while she recovered, Honeybell is back in the neighbourhood house and her activity is being kept more low-key by having her in the smaller office area and using a crate. There have been many studies that prove therapy dogs reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and provide a sense of comfort, confidence and companionship.

“She has bounced back really well,” Ms Lund said. “She’s happy, although at the moment she is doing some destructive chewing (chew toys are helping), but that’s about boredom as she can’t run and has to be on the lead. She has quite a lot of energy because she is feeling a lot better.”

Ms Lund said Honeybell’s training would resume next week with some low-key obedience training with Mary Storie, founder and head trainer of K9 Focus & Fun, Tanjil South.

Morwell Neighbourhood House helps individuals and families who are experiencing disadvantage within Morwell and surrounding areas. It provides welfare support, including a food bank that runs three days a week, a free food store, a lawn mower bank and a repair café.

Latrobe Health Services is one of Honeybell’s official sponsors. The sponsorship is a part of Latrobe’s commitment to giving back to the community that has supported us since we began operations in the Latrobe Valley in 1951.