Up and down the country, hundreds of loving dogs carry out amazing work, bringing comfort and joy to those in need. It’s been really tough, but inspiring charity Pets As Therapy (PAT) have now whittled down the HiLife PAT Dog of the Year nominations to the final six.
For more than 30 years, Pets As Therapy has trained dogs to bring love, companionship and support to people in their community – and we’re just in awe of the amazing work these dogs do without a moment’s hesitation. Take a look at the incredible stories behind each of the six finalists, then let us know your favourite using the form below.
The PAT Dog winner will be announced in a spring 2016 issue of Yours.
Retriever, owned by Lyndsey Uglow
Leo splits his time between children’s wards and the intensive care unit at Southampton Hospital, as well as care homes. A nurse describes how patients’ faces “change from pain to beaming smiles and a sparkle in their eyes when Leo comes in.” A mother who lost her little girl adds that Leo’s friendship with her daughter gave her many cherished memories.
Cockerpoo, owned by Philippa Cadge
For four years, Bilbo has been visiting Cherry Trees for children with disabilities and Furze Hill Care Home. One mother at Cherry Trees says, “To see my boy’s face light up when Bilbo is around is a treasured moment,” while staff at the centre say, “He’s such a valuable asset and is loved by all.”
Basset Hound cross, owned by Julie Norris
Droopy visits three schools with Read2Dogs, including a special school and a holiday club for children with disabilities. A headteacher says, “Droopy has had an amazing impact on our school, helping the children to open up and boosting their self-esteem. For many children, Droopy’s visit is the highlight of their week.”
Spaniel, owned by Dan Bannister
At Breadstone Care Home and Slimbridge Primary, Leo has been delighting people young and old with his loving, gentle nature for four years. Staff at Breadstone say Leo “makes the home a happier place,” while a teacher at Slimbridge explains that, “the children love their special time with him.” A child at the school says, “I like reading to Leo – it’s fun and epic!”
Border Collie, owned by Debbie Thomas
Molly changed the life of a girl at the Cotswold Eating Disorder ward where she visits, along with trips to two residential homes. A relative of a resident at the ward said, “I honestly believe our girl is still with us today because of the bond she had with Molly.”
Golden Retriever, owned by Alan Goodchild
Staff at Genfairn Nursing Home say, “Petra brings such joy to our residents and awakens something in them that’s dormant when she’s not here. Nothing remotely equals the therapy she provides.” A child from the Read2Dogs scheme at Heathfield Primary School, which Petra is also part of says, “She is so fluffy and she helps me learn."