PAT dogs bring joy to the wards for Christmas visit
10 December 2015
Southend Hospital played host to Buddy and his four-legged Pets As Therapy dog pals who gave smiles aplenty to patients as they visited on wards across the hospital.
Buddy is no Elf, he's an 11 year old Labrador and his owner,
Sylvia Wand, 76, from Thorpe Bay has been bringing her dogs into
hospitals for the last 23 years.
She started all those years ago with Ben, followed by Carling,
then Humphrey, and now Buddy whose paws have been plodding the
wards since he was just 18 months old. All her dogs have been black
Labradors, with the exception of Ben. "It cheers the patients up,"
These Santa paws bring with them the gift of strokes and
cuddles. There may be no reindeer but there is Asha, a Tibetan
Spaniel and Honey, a Golden Retriever, both owned by husband and
wife team Liz, 53, and Tom Ireland, 72, from Southend.
And then there is a former dasher, in the guise of recent
recruit Fletcher the greyhound. He always visits patients with
dementia on Princess Anne and Windsor wards. His owner, Shirley
Ranson, 72, from Westcliff, said: "I walk onto the ward and the
patients beam. That's my therapy!"
There are around six regular Pets as Therapy owners and their
dogs who visit Southend Hospital on a regular basis, the group is
rounded out by Lily, whose 'mum' is Sylvia Andrews, 71, from
And Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without a bit of
chocolate, that remit was ably covered by Rolo, a two-year-old
Sproodle (Springer Spaniel x Miniature Poodle), rescue dog.
His owner, Claire Dean, 51, from Thorpe Bay, said: "Rolo enjoys
doing his very special job very much and loves meeting and
interacting with patients, visitors and hospital staff. We always
get stopped in the corridors for strokes and chats and are
frequently addressed with 'Hello gorgeous!' Always referring to
Rolo, of course!
"Every time we visit it is heart-warming to see the reaction of
everyone - patients, staff and visitors. He definitely lifts
people's spirits, even just to see Rolo, if not physically
stroking/feeling him. And Rolo really seems to know somehow what an
important role he has."
Two of those people Rolo and Claire met were Sheila Goddard, 84,
and Michael Goddard, 81, both from Eastwood. Looking on as
Sheila fussed Rolo, Michael said: "This is brilliant therapy for
patients, it gives everyone such a boost."