It is often said that a dog is a man’s best friend. A loyal and faithful companion, there by your side through the highs and lows life throws your way.
This is no different as life’s journey ends.
For #WorldAnimalDay, we are shining a spotlight on some of our hospice partners furry volunteers, their beloved PAT (Pets As Therapy) Dogs. Whose presence alone can offer a welcome relief to the patients they care for. A simple pat, a wagging tail or a friendly lick can make all the difference to those who need them most.
Pets hold a special place in our hearts. Facing incurable illness or the impending loss of a loved one is incredibly challenging, and the emotional toll can be overwhelming. Hospice dogs have a remarkable gift for providing a sense of calm during these difficult times. Their gentle presence and loving nature offer companionship and can reducing feelings of loneliness and anxiety.
To commemorate this day, we would like to introduce you to some of the fantastic PAT dog’s who provide this lifeline to the people cared for by our hospice partners.
Allow us to introduce you to Teddy, the Golden Retriever who brings joy to Cransley Hospice.
The adorable pooch is a dedicated PAT dog, always accompanied by his owner, Dale, who ensures his comfort in any environment. Teddy plays a vital role at Cransley Hospice, acting as a positive distraction for patients when they need it the most. The patients get to see Teddy every Tuesday afternoon, with each visit unique; some patients enjoy a cuddle in their room, while others prefer to give him a fuss or walk in the beautiful hospice garden.
But Teddy's impact goes beyond the patients. He brings smiles and laughter to their families and offers a welcome respite for the hardworking hospice staff and volunteers.
Tuesdays wouldn’t be the same without the weekly visit from Teddy and Dale.
Meet Woody, Noah’s Ark Children's Hospice’s Wellbeing Dog, a black and white Cocker Spaniel.
Now Woody isn’t exactly a PAT dog, but he brings a huge amount of joy to The Ark. His owner is the Deputy CEO, Alison Goodman. He is much loved around The Ark and a member of the team in his own right. When not playing with children or having cuddles from staff, he can be found chilling in her office.
Woody brings lots of smiles and joy to both the staff and the children and families at Noah’s Ark. He is often requested by children when they come in to have a play or a walk.
Introducing Chance, a Golden Labrador who lights up the smiles on the faces of the children supported by our partner Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice Middlesbrough.
The children can’t contain their excitement when Chance comes to play. Chance is a PAT dog who regularly comes to visit them at the hospice.
When he is there, he provides a much-needed comfort for the children. They can play catch, have cuddles and watch him perform lots of tricks. An incredible way to lift their spirits and give them something exciting to brighten their day.
Meet Lottie, a PAT dog who visits St Helena Hospice every week. Providing comfort to patients and staff alike. Lottie’s owner, Dave, explains his decision to provide this comfort to those who need it most.
“About 20 years ago I volunteered on reception, and I saw other people bringing their PAT dogs in, and I could see the effect that had on patients and how the whole hospice lit up. I thought at the time that would be a lovely thing to do. My dog was really old, and my next dog was unsuited to being a Pets As Therapy dog. But then later we got Lottie, and she is calm and friendly, perfect for the job.
It’s a nice rewarding thing to do; it cheers people up. Most people are pleased to see her and because she is only little she goes to sit on the bed if the patient wants that. Lots of the patients have their own pets at home so seeing Lottie brings a smile.”
The support offered by PAT dogs is immeasurable. These remarkable animals bring love, comfort, and solace to those facing the end of life, providing a unique form of therapy. Their ability to offer emotional support, reduce stress, distract from pain, and provide unconditional love is a testament to the incredible bond that can exist between humans and animals.
As we celebrate the work of PAT dogs in the hospice, let us remember that their presence not only eases the suffering of patients but also leaves an everlasting mark on the hearts of their families. In their quiet and loving way, hospice dogs remind us of the beauty of compassion, connection, and the healing power of the human-animal bond.