Read all about Shirley and her pug Bruce, who share a room at Regency Green as part of our Pets in Residence program.

For 12 years, Shirley Bean has had her devoted dog Bruce by her side.

When it came time for Shirley to move into an aged care home, she hated the thought of being separated.

Luckily for the pair they were able to secure one of our special rooms at Regency Green Aged Care, which caters for residents with companion animals.

The black pug is now a regular on the Regency Green social scene, accompanying Shirley during the site’s many activities.

“Whether it be a film or knitting or craft, whatever is going on, he always comes,” Shirley, aged 83, says.

“I didn’t take him to activities at first because I thought people might object but it was the other way around.

“They would say, ‘Why haven’t you brought Bruce?’”

Bruce’s popularity is evident as he walks the halls with Shirley.

Blind since birth, the pug doesn’t let his lack of sight affect his confidence as he strolls around his new home getting countless pats from residents and staff.

In Shirley’s room, there is a dog door which leads to a fenced yard, allowing Bruce to come and go as he pleases.

At night he sleeps in his bed on the floor, alongside Shirley’s own.

“It must be awful for people who have to separate from their pets,” Shirley says.

“The company is wonderful, especially at night.

“I’m very grateful to have this room – it really is wonderful.”

Regency Green also has a new off-leash dog exercise yard where family members can bring pets to visit their loved ones, as well as another room available for a resident wanting to live with their cat.

UCWPA Executive Manager Aged Care Deborah Burton says it is all part of our focus on providing flexible, tailored care to suit residents’ needs.

She says residents wanting their pet to live with them are required to have a period of respite before being accepted as permanent.

This allows each pet being considered for residency to be assessed by the Animal Welfare League to ensure it is a suitable placement for the pet as well as the owner and home.

Visiting animals are also welcome at all of our aged care sites, however they must be well mannered, appropriately restrained and under the supervision of their owners at all times.

They must also be approved for visiting by the Director of Nursing or a delegate.

“We are committed to providing a safe environment for our residents where they are able to continue to spend time with their pets,” Ms Burton says.

“We know how important pets are in people’s lives – they really are part of the family.”