Say hello to the incredible hounds who do the most extraordinary things.
They may look like the average pooch, but these dogs are life-changers, bringing comfort, joy and companionship to those who need it most.
Every year, the inspiring charity Pets As Therapy (PAT) have to whittle down hundreds of applications for their HiLife PAT Dog of the Year competition to just a few finalists and here are the final six – and the stories behind their amazing work. Let us know your favourite by voting below.
King Charles Cavalier, owned by Barbara Borwell
Daisy visits Five Courts Care Home and is a regular at three schools and a hospital. Staff at Westminster Hospital Dorset say, “Daisy has such a gentle nature and we see how her calming influence lifts patients’ moods.”
The school headteacher says, “Many children have made excellent progress with Daisy; it’s highly effective.” The children agree, “Thanks for helping us get better at reading.”
Chihuahua, owned by Terence Card
Tiny Georgie has been bringing joy to residential homes, rehabilitation centres, a special school and a mental health club for six years. Jacobs Neuro Centre says, “Georgie’s presence brings comfort, joy and support – both physical and emotional,” while Frank Foster House says, “Georgie promotes wellbeing and happiness in our residents.”
Tye Green Care Home says: “Georgie snuggles with our bedbound patients and comforts them. He is a very special dog.”
Crossbreed, owned by Julie Crowley
Devon visits schools, mental health clubs and care homes, devoting herself to improving the lives of those in need. A health worker says, “Dementia patients are calmed and communicate with her,” while Penygarn School say, “Devon makes a huge difference to the children’s attitude to reading – it’s been a privilege to watch”.
Other friends added, “Devon is a calming, lovely dog”.
Mixed Breed, owned by Kathleen Carney
Janna, now 14, has visited schools, nursing homes and a hospice for five years. One pupil at Pitmaston Primary, who was shy and struggling to speak in class, found acceptance and love from Janna, and is now finding her voice.
A teacher says, “We love seeing her eagerness to read. Janna is only with us for a few hours, but each minute is precious. She is much loved and her visits are eagerly anticipated”.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier, owned by Angie Seedhouse
Angie says Sausage was born to be a PAT dog! For four years, Sausage has spent his time at St Ewolds Residential Home and also does phobia work. Sausage visits every week and is often invited to birthday and Christmas parties.
Residents say things such as, “He is the best dog I have ever met”, “He is a darling with human eyes and a friend for life” and “Sausage day is the best day of the week.”
Labrador, owned by Hilary Farndon
Rocco visits a school, hospital and care home. Oakfield Primary, who nominated him says, “The children love reading to Rocco and it makes a difference to every child who spends time with him.” St Cross Hospital adds, “Rocco is the highlight of our patients’ week.
They get emotional stroking a dog again – he helps them relearn everyday skills.” Mill Green Care Home says, “Rocco leaves us feeling good.”
- To find out more about Pets as Therapy, call 0149 456 9130 or visit www.petsastherapy.org