News & Events

Peggy provides comfort one pat at a time

July 27, 2020

Peggy is a well-known face around Rushall Park, and has built up quite a fan base among the residents.

Which is understandable given that Peggy is a Lagotto, an Italian retriever, and a breed known as affectionate, curious and often used for therapy.

Named after the singing diva Peggy Lee, Peggy and her owner Rose Hiscock have been regular Sunday visitors to Rushall Park until the start of the pandemic earlier this year. She has temporarily stopped the visits and is missing them.

Rose began volunteering after walking past the Old Colonists’ Association of Victoria’s village in Fitzroy North and wondering whether the residents would like a dog in their lives. Her visits are coordinated through Janet Creighton, one of the village residents, and the trio visit two or three residents every other Sunday,

“We spend about 15 minutes with each resident, enough time for a cup of tea for me and a pat and treat for Peggy,” Rose said.

For her, the volunteering experience has shown Rose how much Peggy not only brightens the lives of residents, a fact which does not surprise her. A confirmed animal lover, Rose grew up on a small farm in Ballarat with a menagerie of animals – dogs, cats, chooks, goats, cows and horses.

“Having a dog is part of my life, and living near the Merri Creek provides the perfect location for dog walking and I feel like I have country life in the city. I walk along the creek all the time – and Peggy spends plenty of time chasing ducks,” she said.

But there is much more to the pats that Peggy offers, according to Rose.

“She is also a great conversation starter. It is fabulous for me to have the opportunity for wide-ranging conversations from news and current affairs to arts and culture. I have loved getting to know the residents, they have great joie de vivre,” Rose said.

Coming to Rushall Park regularly also fits in neatly with Rose’s passion for history and culture. Outside volunteering, she is Director of Museums and Collections at the University of Melbourne. She is responsible for the Art Museums and the new Science Gallery under construction on the site of the former Women’s Hospital in Carlton.

“The University has an amazing collection across many disciplines including contemporary art, antiquities, rare books, botany, natural history, and medical science. The collection is used for teaching and scholarship as well as exhibitions in our museums,” she said.



"There is nothing I would change that would make my life any better. I have two loving sons and family and I thank God every day that OCAV took me in when I had nothing," said Jill Dale, Braeside Park resident.

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