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Why I Volunteer: The therapist on four legs

15 May 2017

He is a highly valued friend to the patients at Prospect Hospice. But just as not all superheroes wear a cape, not all Prospect Hospice volunteers walk on two feet. In-Patient Unit Nurse Manager Hilary Sinclair explains how valuable this four-legged volunteer is to the hospice.

Meet Colin, the Pets as Therapy (PAT) dog who has been visiting patients at the In-Patient Unit (IPU) since last autumn. He brings smiles to the faces of the people he spends time with, and it must be said, to the staff and volunteers at the hospice who are equally delighted by his presence.

All volunteers go to the hospice for serious reasons of course, and Colin is no exception. Pets as Therapy is a national charity which aims to enhance health and wellbeing in the community through the visits of trusted volunteers, their canine companions and feline friends.

The companionship of animals helps improve the lives of people affected by life-limiting conditions.  Bonding with pets has been proven to make patients happier, calmer, and increase their self esteem, aspects that attracted Colin to the role.

Colin’s human Lara rescued him when he was just a pup, and his gentle nature prompted her to put him forward as a PAT dog. Not all dogs make the grade, however. All must be over nine months old and pass a temperament assessment for their suitability for the role.

At the time of writing Colin was unavailable for comment as he was busy entertaining a patient, however IPU Nurse Manager Hilary Sinclair said:

“Colin and our other PAT dog Zak have been welcome additions to the team on the In-Patient Unit. Many of our patients are, or have been dog owners and it clearly means a lot to them just to spend time in the company of Colin or Zak when they come to visit.”

“For many of the team here too, we’re pleased to welcome them. It’s all part of the difference we’re able to make here at Prospect Hospice.”

For more information visit Prospect Hospice.

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