A tiny teacup poodle weighing just 2.2kg is bringing smiles to the faces of hundreds of pregnant women awaiting the arrival of their new babies at Mater Mothers’ Hospital in South Brisbane.
Brisbane property developer Matt Hluszko and four-year-old Daisy joined the volunteer ranks one month ago and are giving back to the hospital that cared for Mr Hluszko’s wife Emma, who spent more than two months in hospital before their son Alexander arrived.
“My wife had placenta previa and the team at Mater were absolutely fantastic,” Mr Hluszko, from Manly, said.
Mr Hluszko said his wife was cared for on the long-stay ward at Mater Mothers’ for about nine weeks before Alexander arrived three weeks early in March.
He said during his wife’s lengthy stay in hospital, it was a visit from a volunteer and their therapy dog that inspired him to ‘return the favour’ to others going through a similar situation.
“Everyone is busy these days, but I thought if I can give back a little bit to assist even one person that would be incredible,” Mr Hluszko, 35, said.
“We have very busy lives, holidays planned but overall, this is something I love doing. I think if anyone can spend two hours volunteering, why not? Everyone who meets Daisy is smitten with her.”
He described Daisy as “very easy going and affectionate”.
“It’s pretty hard to put into words the affect she has on people. She just has something about her. Everyone wants to give her a pat. She’s very cute and very loving.”
Mr Hluszko, who inherited Daisy from his mum after she died, has another close connection to Mater, with his aunty Tracey O’Connor working as a nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for the past 30 years.
“I’ve always heard stories about what my aunty does. Being able to give back to the same hospital she works at and where my son was born is rewarding,” he said.
West End’s Aman Sagu met Daisy recently and said her “spirits were lifted” after interacting with the tiny dog.
“I’m 32 weeks pregnant with pre-eclampsia and waiting for my son, who has fetal growth restriction, to arrive. It’s hour by hour for me,” Mrs Sagu said.
“I have been in hospital for one week and at times it has been challenging. Some days there’s lots of anxiety. Having Daisy walk through my door with Matt made my day so much better. I was able to take photos and send them back to my family in Canada, which gave them some form of relief.”
Mrs Sagu said it was comforting to hear Mr Hluszko’s personal story about becoming a volunteer.
“There’s just something special about someone who understands your situation. He was sympathetic and emphatic,” she said.
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