A friendly cat in tough times: Yogi remembered at Nova House

Yogi the therapy cat at Nova House in Bendigo helped 1300 people withdrawing from drug and alcohol addiction over 10 years. He passed away this week.

Yogi the therapy cat at Nova House in Bendigo helped 1300 people withdrawing from drug and alcohol addiction over 10 years. He passed away this week.

WHEN times are tough, sometimes a friendly face and kind companionship can make a world of difference.

At Bendigo Community Health’s Nova House, where people are admitted to clinically withdraw from drug and alcohol addiction, one staff member was always on hand to help.

Yogi the cat clocked up 10 years of service to the centre last month, having given support to more than 1300 clients – sitting on their laps, receiving pats and just being a good cat.

Staff across BCHS are now celebrating his service and mourning his passing. Yogi was bitten by a brown snake last month and passed away on Monday.

Alcohol and other drug services senior manager Cheryl Sobczyk said Yogi provided invaluable support to clients when they were admitted to Nova House.

“Clients are often anxious and stressed when they first arrive at Nova House and Yogi always provided a welcoming experience to calm them,” she said.

“He provided company to clients during their stay in the house.

“His welcome experience always extended to his colleagues and visitors to the house too, and he was much-loved by all.”

BCHS posthumously awarded Yogi a 10-year certificate on Wednesday in recognition of his service at an emotional staff development day this week.

He was not always the most attentive or professional staff member, regularly seen taking naps while clocked on. But his vermin control skills were considered second to none.

Ms Sobczyk said Yogi had touched the lives of many.

“Yogi will be sadly missed by our alcohol and other drugs services staff at Nova House and by all the clients who have come to know him during their stay with us,” she said.

“For many of those clients, this was a very tough time in their lives and somehow Yogi sensed that and played a role in helping them through.

“He made a difference and that will be his lasting legacy.”

Nova House is an adult residential withdrawal unit offering a seven to 10-day residential program to clinically manage withdrawal symptoms.

For more information or to access the service, call 5430 0500.

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