My name is Jan and I have been volunteering at St Ann’s Hospice since July 2016. I have two PAT dogs, Jakey, a 4-year-old Border Collie and Otis, a 2-year-old Labrador Retriever.
Every Wednesday afternoon I go to the hospice with one of my PAT dogs and we visit those patients who want to meet him. We find that the patients really enjoy interacting with Jakey and Otis, and it can often stimulate happy memories. I have many times experienced a patient light up as we approach the bed. It is so rewarding to know what joy my dogs can bring to a patient and to know that patients look forward to our visits.
The benefit of a PAT dog is that they help to reduce stress in people they meet. They seem to have a sixth sense with the patients – the dog will lay still for snuggles or rollover for tummy tickles. The dogs enjoy the attention it receives being with patients.
Visitors, volunteers and staff also benefit greatly from our visits too. “Hello gorgeous” is a common greeting said by staff as we do our rounds; of course this is said to the dog, which always makes me smile.
It is so rewarding to know what joy my dogs can bring to a patient and to know that patients look forward to our visits.
Therapy dogs are widely used to calm and soothe people from all walks of life, at St Ann’s we use the dogs to bring joy and happiness to patients, staff and volunteers.
In celebration of dogs, we’re hosting a virtual dog show competition on Facebook and we’re asking dog owners to get involved by making a donation of £3 and sending in a photo to our team. Click the link below to find out what the event entails and how you can get involved. Help Raise the Woof for St Ann’s this June!