Champions for Children: Meet Buckets

Are you interested in working in child and youth mental health services at The Royal Children’s Hospital?  Let us introduce you to our latest Champion for Children, who you could be working alongside if you joined our Hoppers Crossing team.

Can you tell us more about yourself and your role at The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH)?
Hi, my name is Buckets and I work with the RCH’s South West team. There are many things that I love and it is very hard to choose but some of my favourites are swimming at the beach, digging holes, chasing butterflies, teddy bears and anyone that will give me a cuddle and a belly scratch. Me and my handler did our therapy dog training a few years ago and since then I have been working at the RCH in the mental health outpatient clinic. I love working at the RCH! I especially love being the first one to arrive so that I can wag my tail and greet all the staff as they arrive in the morning. My role also includes meeting new children and their families, helping children when they might feel sad, worried or overwhelmed, giving lots of cuddles and love and playing games with the children.

What does an average day at Hopper’s Crossing look like for you?
I am the first one to arrive and excitedly run into my room and put my work toy in my mouth. I then wait with anticipation for the next staff member to arrive. Once I hear the door open, I wag my tail down the hallway, excitedly meet them and walk them to their office. I do this for every single staff member! I also join the team huddle in the morning and check in with everyone again to make sure they are feeling happy and ready for the day. Then me and my handler start seeing our consumers for the day. When the young people arrive into our office, I happily welcome them and their family (always with my toy in my mouth). Once they are settled into the room, I wait and see what they want to do. If they are wanting to play – we play! If they want a pat – I sit by them or lay at their feet. Or if they want a big soft cuddle – we lay on the ground together and cuddle (this is my favourite). I can always tell when someone is feeling sad, worried or scared and try and given extra love and comfort to them during these times. At the end of the appointment I walk them out and look forward to seeing them again next time!!

Who do you get to work alongside at Hopper’s Crossing and what makes it such a special place to be?
I get to work with all staff at the Hoppers Crossing site, but I always have my handler with me. Being part of the Hoppers Crossing team means not only working with my handler but also working with the team coordinator and the staffing group. Our team includes psychologists, social workers, speech pathologists, occupational therapists,  family therapists, paediatricians, family peer support workers, medical staff, a Travancore teacher and our administration team. It’s a great team to be part of and we are continuing to grow. Hoppers Crossing is a very special place to work because everyone loves me and they are so friendly to me and each other. Plus, there is always very lovely smells going down the hallway too, as staff are always bringing in food to share with the team. A slow cooker in the kitchen on a cold winter’s day is my favourite.

Why is the role of a therapy dog so important?
My role is so important because sometimes words are not enough. Sometimes what is most important is a welcoming presence, a caring and gentle face and a big soft cuddle. My relationship with the children at CAMHS South West is powerful and goes beyond words.

What do you enjoy most about working with young people?
What I love the most is that the young people are just as happy to see me as I am to see them! Their cuddles and pats are the best!!!

Who are you most inspired by?

I LOVE basketball (NBA) and my favourite team is the Miami Heat. I love watching the basketball on TV and dress up in my number 22 jersey to cheer my team on. I am also named after the Miami Heat player Jimmy Butler, who’s nickname is Jimmy Buckets, and he is who I am most inspired by. Jimmy inspires me because he is a strong team leader and does not give up, even when his team is loosing. He will find a way to try his best always. I believe that this is a great way to live my life – when times are tough, keep being you and try your best!!

Are you interested in working alongside Bucket and the incredible team at Hopper’s Crossing? More information is available at

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