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Byron Mullet: A heartwarming pet therapy volunteer with Nova Scotia Health

A man with white hair and white beard wears a red shirt and khaki pants, and he's holding the leash of a chocolate lab who's wearing a white bandana. They are in the lobby of a hospital.

Byron Mullet, a dedicated pet therapy volunteer with Nova Scotia Health, was drawn to this fulfilling role through the encouragement of a fellow veteran and participant in the pet therapy program. His commitment to bringing comfort and joy to patients is evident in the activities he undertakes on a weekly basis.

As a volunteer, Mullet conducts visitations at both the 6th floor at the Veterans Memorial Building and Simpson Landing at the Nova Scotia Hospital. These visits with his pet therapy dog, Naya, involve engaging patients in casual chats and providing opportunities for personal and tactile interactions with the dog.

What keeps Mullet motivated and engaged in his volunteer work is the tangible impact he sees each week. The positive reactions from patients, ranging from expressions of happiness to tears of joy, serve as a constant reminder of the significance of his visits. This truly reflects this years National Volunteer Week Theme, Every Moment Matters.

Reflecting on his time with Nova Scotia Health, Mullet says he’s most proud of “the continuous examples of the success of the pet therapy program witnessed on each visit, the support and enthusiasm of staff and the personal happiness that Naya and I take home every week.” Mullet also says, “participation in this activity has promoted my own personal mental health after a sudden loss in my own family in the past few years.”

One of Mullet's inspiring anecdotes involves a patient who, although now passed, kept a drawer full of treats for Naya during her visits. Another touching experience was with a patient who spent close to a full hour lying on the floor with Naya in a common area, experiencing immense joy and even shedding tears of happiness during this simple yet meaningful interaction with the therapy animal.

Byron Mullet's dedication to pet therapy exemplifies the power of compassion and connection in healthcare, making a lasting impact on the lives of patients in the Nova Scotia Health community.

Photo of Byron Mullet, pet therapy volunteer, with his therapy dog, Naya. 

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