You may have noticed a feature on Felicity, one of our Pets as Therapy dogs, in the Sunday Mirror recently.
The Yorkshire Terror is no stranger to the media spotlight after previously appearing on Paul O’Grady’s For the Love of Dogs when she was at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, after she was found wandering the streets of London.
Thankfully the 14-year-old found a new home with Flo Sinclair, one of our Pets as Therapy volunteers and, since then, she’s been part of our team at our Children’s Hospital touring the wards, bringing smiles and laughter to young people.
Flo, who’s volunteered with us for the last five years, said: “The first time I took Felicity for a walk we saw a group of children coming out of school. She ran straight up to them.
“At that moment, I knew she’d make a perfect therapy dog. She adores the fuss they make of her. She loves visiting the hospital – it makes her come alive.”
Felicity is just one of five dogs who visit eight different wards and departments through the scheme that’s been providing companionship and comfort to patients, families and staff since 2014.
Caron Eyre, Director of Nursing, Quality and Governance, said:
“A Pets as Therapy visit gives a sense of normality to families, and a distraction from hospital activity. Patients who have a dog at home often comment that they miss their pet, and having a dog visit reminds them of the comfort of home.
“Walking with a dog has been used as part of a Physiotherapy session, or to encourage patients to move out of bed if they are uncertain. A visit from a furry friend can also be the perfect distraction from discomfort.
“Recently, Felicity comforted an anxious mother and grandmother while they waited for a patient to return from heart surgery. After a shared hug, both commented they felt calmer.
“Our staff also benefit from the scheme and love giving the dogs a hug. We’ve had lots of positive feedback about the sense of wellbeing it brings.”