Animates is a special program brought to you by a dedicated group of 2RPH volunteers. The 30-minute program focuses on the stories of people who live with a disability and who find owning or being close to an animal helpful for everyday life. The following episodes share these stories in an interview-style format. Owing to copyright restrictions articles read on these programs are not included here.
Michael Morpurgo - This Morning I Met A Whale PART 1
Original Broadcast Date 05.04.2020
Janet King has a deep love for her dogs and over the years they have helped her though many of life's challenges - these range from chronic pain and mobility impairment caused by a rare bone condition called osteopetrosis to being evacuated from home during the recent bushfires
Original Broadcast Date 08.03.2020
Ashley Stephenson RSPCA and bushfires
Ashley Stephenson used to be part of the corporate and business world before he joined the RSPCA in December 2019.
As the bush fires unfolded across the state he was immediately thrown into co-ordinating evacuation points, mobilizing teams to assist wildlife burned in the fires and organizing veterinary care.
He tells Elaine Wziontek how proud he is of the RSPCA in providing relief and recovery assistance to animals and owners in communities devastated by fires.
Original Broadcast Date 23.02.2020
In this episode we hear about animals needing humans to be their support. This summer we have all seen stories of how our native wildlife has suffered so terribly in the bushfires. But there has not been much discussion of the impact the fires have on the urban wildlife. Gillian is a WIRES volunteer based in Sydney's eastern suburbs. She describes her commitment to helping sick and injured birds.
Original Broadcast Date 09.02.2020
Mackie the Therapy Dog
Kerin's daughter, Jennifer, often finds the world a terrifying place. Her constant companion is Mackie, a two-year-old schnauzer poodle cross who not only calms her but also alerts Kerin when Jennifer's anxiety levels increase. In this interview Kerin talks frankly about her daughter and the role Mackie plays in her life.
Original Broadcast Date 26.01.2020
Heavy Horse Heaven with Karen Hood
Karen Hood founded Heavy Horse Heaven in Yass in 2011. She and a team of volunteers have created a little piece of heaven where they rescue, rehabilitate and re-home big horses that can no longer be kept at the family home. She tells Elaine Wziontek that while the organisation helps the horses they give back a lot as well. Donations welcome.
Original Broadcast Date 12.01.2020
Angela from Perth
On this Animates program, 2RPH presenter Monica Foltyn introduces her good friend from Perth, Angela.
Angela has been an animal lover all her life and has been drawn to animals which others would probably have found too challenging, like Jesse the three-legged dog and Molly the diabetic cat.
She lives with a range of health issues herself and finds her furry friends a great comfort.
Original Broadcast Date 15.12.2019
Marion Charlton Gold Coast Airport
In this episode, 2RPH's Monica Foltyn interviews Marion Charlton, Chief Operating Officer of Gold Coast Airport. We are used to seeing sniffer dogs at airports but at Gold Coast Airport dogs are being used for a completely different purpose - to calm nervous passengers.
Original Broadcast Date 10.12.2019
Krissy Stanley and her Feathered Friends
This licenced pet therapy entertainer hand rears birds, colours their feathers and creates costumes for them for a one-hour comedy show. Krissy Stanley tells Elaine Wziontek about her love for life, her beautiful parrots, and a champagne birthday celebration for her chicken Rose depicted in her documentary 'Adventure before Dementia'.
Original broadcast Date 17.11.2019
Christie Hall and her therapy horses
In this interview Christie talks with Elaine Wziontek about her 'best mates on four legs' Bushman and Winston and how they bring joy into the lives of nursing home residents and children with disabilities. A former nurse, Christie now enjoys a new career as The Therapist with Hooves.
Original Broadcast Date 03.11.2019
Tanya and Elvis
Tanya and Elvis, her cavoodle, have been together since Elvis since was eight weeks old. That was eight years ago. Tanya runs a business from home and Elvis keeps her company while she is working. He loves going for long walks striding next to her wheelchair as long as there are no skateboards in sight. Tune in to hear about their special bond.
Original Broadcast Date 20.10.2019
Dr Mary Hartley discusses Ancient Animal Bones
On this episode we travel though history to learn about how Ancient Egyptians viewed animals with Dr Mary Hartley, an expert in analysing animal bones as an Egyptologist at Macquarie University. She also gives us an insight into the animals of colonial Sydney.
Original Broadcast Date 06.10.2019
Animals in Nursing Homes
Diversional therapist Briony Scott discusses the benefits that animals bring to nursing home residents at Lulworth House, Elizabeth Bay. She tells Elaine Wziontek stories of visiting parrots, corgis on the Queens's birthday, snakes, horses, even baby crocodiles and chicken hatching. These animal visitors brightens their days and evoke happy memories of their youth. Briony also uses two cute, fluffy robotic para seals Yoshi and Yoko as part of her therapy.
Original Broadcast Date 22.09.2019
Josh Miller and his birds
Pets have always been an integral part of Josh and Rina Miller's household. Rina ran a childcare centre where the goldfish and mice were a source of fascination and calm for the children. The dog kept the Millers entertained and fit. When Josh started to become less mobile and started to lose his vision from diabetes, the animals became even more central to him, especially a pair of birds that were rejected wedding presents.
Original Broadcast Date 08.09.2019
CSTDA Dogs For Life with Kevin Picker
The Centre for Service and Therapy Dogs Australia is an organisation which trains dogs to help people with a wide variety of conditions including, PTSD, anxiety, autism, dementia and seizures. CEO Kevin Picker offers some fascinating insights into the philosophy of working with medical professionals, a handler's family and the dog's natural instincts. He also describes their international connections.
Original Broadcast Date 25.08.2019
Riding for the disabled
In this program Elaine Wziontek talks to Margaret Norman and Melanie Spaggiari from the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) about the horses, the helpers and the riders in this wonderful organisation. Riding can help with coordination, balance and communication and is fun for both the riders and the volunteers.
Original Broadcast Date 11.08.2019
Pet rats can be fun
In this episode Elaine Wziontek talks to 23-year-old Emma Belfort of Brisbane about her pet rats Maggie, Olive and Monty. Emma says rats are intelligent, affectionate, easy to feed, good companions and as much fun as dogs and cats.
Original Broadcast Date 28.07.2019
Chloe Mahr has rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia and a vision impairment. She gives us an insight into what life is like in a household with a zoo of other pets and two assistance dogs who help different people. Chloe tells us about how her husband's guide dog developed a bond with her after sensing her deteriorating health and with some additional training retired from serving one member of the family to help another.
Original Broadcast Date 14.07.2019
Doc Leopold the therapy cat
Seeking help for mental health problems can be an intimidating process, but for young people attending Headspace in Mount Gambier there is someone very special to help create a calming environment. Introducing Doc Leopold the therapy cat. On this episode we speak to therapeutic youth worker Kym Galluccio about how she trains her two-year-old rag doll cat to help young people improve their mental health. You can follow Doc Leopold on Facebook and Instagram.
Original Broadcast Date 30.06.2019
The Other End of the Lead
Annette Rosen interviews Pam from Sydney, a woman who has dedicated much of her life to helping animals, especially dogs. She has sourced emergency care, rescued and rehomed hundreds of animals, and reunited lost dogs with their loved ones.
Original Broadcast Date 16/06/2019
RSPCA Home Ever After
Do you ever worry about what would happen to your pets if anything ever happened to you? This can be a particular concern for people who don't have any nearby family or friends they could call on. Everyone who loves their animals wants to make sure they will be looked after even when they can no longer be the one to do it. We speak to Maria Natera from RSPCA NSW about the Home Ever After Program which offers pet owners peace of mind.
Original Broadcast Date 19.05.2019
A nation of pet owners
In this episode 2RPH presenter Elaine Wziontek talks to Louise Grimmer, Lecturer in Retail Marketing at the Tasmanian School of Business about Australia as a nation of pet owners, with spending on pet related goods and services increasing substantially. More of us live in a house with a cat or a dog than with a child, yet our non-human companions are not welcome in most public spaces in our towns and cities.
Original Broadcast Date 05.05.2019
A tribute to Jo Van Kool
This week we go behind the scenes to tell you a little bit about the process of making Animates. We also pay tribute to one of our most prolific presenters Jo Van Kool complete with a poem she wrote about an unusual encounter with a possum in her early days of radio.
Original Broadcast Date 21.04.2019
This is a special program of Animates. This time we take you behind the scenes to discuss the process of producing Animates and pay tribute to its most prolific presenter Jo Van Kool, including an unusual encounter with a possum in her early days working in radio. Jo also takes a look at WIRES, a volunteer organisation which works to rescue and care for native animals.
Original Broadcast Date 07.04.2019
Miracle Assistance Dogs
Fudge from Miracle Assistance Dogs in East Maitland describes how this organisation works to train dogs to assist people with all sorts of disabilities.
Original Broadcast Date 24.03.2019
Siobhan and Little
2RPH's Linda Arnull recently spoke with her friend Siobhan, who has a cat she has grown up with. Siobhan has moved out of her family home, but still sees her cat on her regular visits and hangs out with this beloved and rather chatty, furry family member when her mother is away. We will hear about the ways that this lovely creature has brought, and continues to bring, fun, comfort, and humour to Siobhan’s life.
Siobhan has many experiences with access in the community as a wheelchair user and generously shared some of her perspectives. As you would expect, these range from the positive to the not so positive, but are learning experiences in all cases at the very least. The triumphs and challenges of apartment living are also touched upon, as are some accessible housing issues for animals and humans.
Original Broadcast Date 10.03.2019
Guide Dogs NSW with Karen Hayter
Elaine Wziontek talks to Karen Hayter from Guide Dogs NSW/ACT about helping volunteers transform a playful puppy into a responsible Guide Dog that may change the life of someone who is blind. Guide Dogs help people live independent and fulfilling lives. It takes an effort to train and socialise the dogs but you get a lot back in return.
Original Broadcast Date 24.02.2019
Learners on a Lead
Jo Van Kool talks with pet dog trainer Karen Johnston who is involved with Learners on lead, a locally owned and run dog training facility.
Original Broadcast Date 10.02.2019
Equine therapy with Brenda Tanner
Jo Van Kool explores equine therapy with Brenda Tanner, the founder, Managing Director and Head of Programs at Equine Encounters Australia.
Original Broadcast Date 13.01.2019
The joy of dogs in sickness and in health
Elaine Wziontek interviews Jennifer Symonds, a writer, painter, dog lover and lung transplant survivor whose life was transformed with her new lungs. She fondly remembers a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Phoebe, who was a friend keeping her going before and after the operation, Oscar the neighbour's dog and more recently energetic Evie who now joins her on long walks in the bush.
Original Broadcast Date 30.12.2018
CAFS Care Farm
Jo Van Kool talks to the chief executive of Cafs Care Farm, which provides health, social and educational care services for at-risk and vulnerable people through supervised, structured programs. Cafs Care Farm offers a range of activities for groups or individuals, all of which are designed to help develop confidence and to deliver improved wellbeing.
Original Broadcast Date 16.12.2018
In this episode 2RPH presenter Jo Van Kool chats with Janelle from "Smart Pups". They discuss the organisation and benefits of companion dogs in the community.
Original Broadcast Date 02.12.2018
Shimon Parker interviews Ben Maguire who is the founder of the Remount program. Ben, wife Marina and a team of Volunteers share their love of horses while helping service veterans deal with the impact of stress, loss or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Remount assists those who have served to get ‘back in the saddle’ and reconnect through horsemanship.
Original Broadcast Date 18.11.2018
Freya the Pin Up Puppy for ASDOG wins community volunteer award
Elaine Wziontek chats to Freya's owner Martina Fox about the joys of puppy raising and the work assistance dogs do in helping people with a disability live more independently. ASDOG needs more people to put their hands up to raise Labrador pups. Find out more about this not for profit organisation that raises, trains and places dogs with people with physical disabilities
Elaine also discusses how support dogs calmed and distracted the athletes to perform their best at the Invictus Games in Sydney
Original Broadcast Date 04.11.2018
Donkey Therapy with May Dodd
May Dodd is a psychiatrist and also runs the Donkey Shelter in Tongala in Central Victoria. Hear the story of how her first pet donkey inspired her to establish the sanctuary in 1997 which takes in sick or unwanted donkeys from around Australia and how her work in animal therapy has helped both her patients and the donkeys to grow and live more confident lives.
Original Broadcast Date 21.10.2018
Ernie the Goat
2RPH presenter Shimon has a chat with Amanda Howell - Ernie the Alpine Milking Goat's mum. Ernie was brought into Amanda’s life on Melbourne Cup Day 2017. Amanda did not immediately realise how much her life would change because of this event and the effect it would have on the lives of many other New England residents in Northern NSW. Amanda provides a glimpse of her life with Ernie and how he works his magic.
Original Broadcast Date 7.10.2018
Delta Society with Amanda Dee
Elaine Wziontek talks to Amanda Dee a Delta Society volunteer who visits patients at the Spinal Unit at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney with her black Labrador Ruby. Find out how a listening ear and a friendly paw brightens the day of patients and medical staff. More volunteers welcome.
Original Broadcast Date 23.9.2018
A social vet service with Dr Alicia Kennedy
As a vet Dr Alicia Kennedy found that while all the owners of her patients loved their pets not all of them were able to do everything that was needed to look after them. She founded a Social Veterinary Service which supports the elderly and people with disabilities to care for their pets. They match pet owners with volunteers who can help perform tasks such as walking, feeding and giving medication to pets, as well as respite care services also include a community vet nurse who visits to provide services such as check-ups and grooming.
Original Broadcast Date 9.9.2018
Alpaca Therapy with Graham Maskiell
2RPH's Sarah Hewson talks to Graham Maskiell, a special education teacher from Gin Gin High School in Queensland. Graham has been instrumental in the introduction of a program at the school that uses alpacas to encourage and build confidence of children with autism and other special needs.
Original Broadcast Date 26.08.2018
Chickens to Love with Summer and Cynthia Farrelly
Elaine Wziontek talks to Summer Farrelly, a remarkable 11-year-old who wants to help shy, awkward and autistic kids like herself engage with chickens. Mum Cynthia explains how Summer quickly developed an amazing bond with chickens and how their program helps other children gain confidence.
Original Broadcast Date 12.08.2018
Jo Van Kool interviews Zoe Black, co-founder and program director of Happy Paws, Happy Hearts, an organisation that provides animal care, handling and training programs designed to give participants a rewarding personal development experience as they nurture and care for for shelter animals and prepare them for adoption.
Original Broadcast Date 29.07.2018
Edspace Program and Anthropzoology Lecture
After her son, who has autism, could not remain in school, Maggie Fanning decided to take matters into her own hands and create her own school. EdSpace School is located in Benalla, north-east Victoria, and aims to provide individualised educational programs for students of entry age from 11-18 years with medical or developmental disorders affecting their success in mainstream schooling. Elaine Wziontek talks to Maggie from Victoria.
Original Broadcast Date 15.07.2018
2RPH's Jo Van Kool talks to Marion from Healing Hooves, a Gold Coast-based charity rescuing horses with a disability.
Original Broadcast Date 1.7.2018
Health Benefits of Owning a Dog with Manos Stamatakis
Elaine Wziontek talks health benefits of owning a dog with Associate Professor Manos Stamatakis, who is conducting a study on the health benefits of owning a dog with the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney.
Original Broadcast Date 17.6.2018
Pick of the Litter
Shimon Parker chats with Don Hardy, producer of film Pick of the Litter, on what it was like to follow five spirited puppies as they are trained to become guide dogs for the blind in his new documentary.
Original Broadcast Date 3.06.2018
Jenny Harlow - Dog Trainer
Dog trainer Dr Jenny Harlow works with dogs experiencing anxiety and other behavioural issues.
Original Broadcast Date 20.05.2018
Canine Comprehension - Sarah Macdonald
Elaine interviews Sarah Macdonald, Director of Canine Comprehension, which offers a fun and interactive approach to children’s education with dog-assisted learning. Sarah explains how interacting with dogs and teaching them tricks can help kids learn and gain confidence.
Original Broadcast Date 6.05.2018
Molly Polly Diabetes Alert Dog
Molly Polly is the tireless terrier who is believed to be the only assistance dog in Australia doing two distinct jobs - diabetes alert and mental health support - for two different owners. She has changed the lives of her young owners, twins Hannah and Olivia Weber, and, of course, their mum Adrienne Cottell who will share their story.
Original Broadcast Date 22.04.2018
Welfare of Assistance Animals - Dr Jacqui Ley
Dr Jacqui Ley from the Australian Veterinary Association is a behavioural therapist. She gives us an interesting insight into how animals think, and discusses her concerns about allowing downtime for animals doing demanding jobs.
Original Broadcast Date 08.04.2018
Olivia and Tanya Leadbeatter
Interview with Olivia and her mum Tanya about the importance of animals for Olivia, who has special needs.
Original Broadcast Date 15.03.2018
PAWS - Sharon Stewart
Paws Pet Therapy is a not-for-profit organisation that trains volunteers and their dogs to provide specialised pet therapy to people in a range of settings, with needs ranging from loneliness to cancer.
Original Broadcast Date 11/03/2018
Hearing Dogs - Faye Yaroll
Lyons Hearing Dogs provide assistance dogs for people with hearing impairment all over Australia. Learn about what they do and how they are trained with Fay Yarroll and her dog Sydney.
Original Broadcast Date 25/02/2018
Penguin Bloom - Samantha Bloom
While on holidays in Thailand an accident left Samantha Bloom paralysed. When she returned home she developed a remarkable relationship with a magpie called Penguin. This story is now a book and is set to become a movie.
Original Broadcast Date 11/02/2018
John Murphy - MindDog user in aged care
A German Shepherd named Rex was adopted as a pet, initially, but became much more to his owner John Murphy. The stress of his wife's dementia led John's mental health to deteriorate, so with training from MindDog Rex became an important part of John's life, providing him with the support he needs. Now John is fighting to have his aged care facility recognise Rex’s status as a fully accredited assistance dog.
Original Broadcast Date 28/01/2018
Liz Wheeler - Guide Dog user
Liz Wheeler is a student, advocate and adventurer who was none of these things until she was teamed with a Labrador called Poppi. This dog gave her the freedom to live her life after vision loss.
Original Broadcast Date 14/01/2018
Whiskey's Wish - Scott Jackman
In 2013 Scott Jackman was medically discharged from the army with major depression and PTSD. After the death of his assistance dog Whiskey he founded Whiskey’s Wish, an organisation that provides service dogs to veterans with disabilities. Their work encompasses training and continual support for recipients and their immediate family for the life of the dog and beyond.
Original Broadcast Date 31/12/2017
Pets In The Park - Mark Westman
Dr Mark Westman works in the School of Veterinary Science at the University of Sydney, where he runs a clinic caring for the pets of homeless people.
Original Broadcast Date 03/12/2017
Phoenix House - Helen Botros
Phoenix House is a Bundaberg-based community organisation which assists those who have been harmed or are at risk of harm. Its Equine Assisted Therapy program has a significant impact for many of their clients.
Original Broadcast Date 19/11/2017
Riding for the Disabled, Orange - Wayne Gallagher
Riding for the Disabled Association NSW provides people with a disability the opportunity to ride and enjoy all the activities connected with horse riding. Riding for people with a disability is both therapeutic and recreational. We speak to Wayne Gallagher from the RDA Centre in Orange.
Original Broadcast Date 05/11/2017
The Urban Beehive - Vicky Brown
The Urban Beehive put beehives in city backyards, businesses, community gardens and on rooftops. Vicky Brown has the pleasure of maintaining apiaries all over Sydney and enjoys teaching courses and giving talks to raise awareness about earth’s major pollinators.
Original Broadcast Date 24/10/2017
Estia Health - Sue Bailey
Hear the story of how one therapy dog helps residents in a nursing home.
Original Broadcast Date 08/10/2017
MindDog - Gail
MindDog assists people with mental health disorders to procure, train and certify psychiatric assistance dogs, enabling them to participate more fully in life.
Original Broadcast Date 24/09/2017
Christo Sarantakis derives great comfort and support from a special bond with his cat.
Original Broadcast Date 27/08/2017
In this episode we learn about what’s required to keep chooks and the many benefits for choosing them as family pets.
Original Broadcast Date 13/08/2017
Jane Hall - Horses and people with autism
Original Broadcast Date 30/07/2017
Sunshine Butterflies operate a hobby farm in Noosa which uses animals to deliver animal therapy and animal care programs to individuals living with disability. We speak to founder Leanne Walsh.
Original Broadcast Date 16/07/2017
Gail Turney had a brain haemorrhage in 2006. We talk to her about what life is like with her assistance dog Bella.
Original Broadcast Date 02/07/2017
Guide Dogs - Graham Innes and Paul Adrian
Former Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graham Innes describes what life is like as a Guide Dog handler. Then, Paul Adrian describes the process of training a Guide Dog.
Original Broadcast Date 04/06/2017
Backtrack - Paul
BackTrack is a not-for-profit organisation based in Armidale NSW running a range of programs for disadvantaged youth. Paul Dawson tells us about sharing his passion for the land with young people and in assisting them to become work ready and reach their goals.
Original Broadcast Date 07/05/2017
Assistance Dogs Australia - Jane MaKay
Assistance Dogs Australia provides dogs to a wide variety of people including those with cerebral palsy, spina bifida, multiple sclerosis, autism and PTSD. These highly trained dogs allow recipients to have greater mobility, gain confidence and self-esteem.
Original Broadcast Date 23/04/2017
Riding for the Disabled - Nicole King
Riding for the Disabled Association NSW provides people with a disability the opportunity to ride and enjoy all the activities connected with horse riding. Riding for people with a disability is both therapeutic and recreational. We speak to Nicole King from the RDA Centre Tall Timbers in Box Hill.
Original Broadcast Date 09/04/2017
Taronga Zoo - Steve Williams
Steve Williams, the manager of Guest Experience-Operations, discusses the programs run for people with disabilities visiting Taronga Zoo.
Original Broadcast Date 26/03/2017
Animal behaviourist Kirsty Sexel talks about the bond between animals and people.
Original Broadcast Date 12/03/2017
The Animates team include:
- Katie Brookes
- Josef Schwanzer
- Elaine Wziontek
- Monica Foltyn
- Annette Rosen
Animates airs alternate Sundays at 5:30pm or 7:00pm on Tuesdays.