Two new canine recruits have joined the team on the dedicated children’s ward at Epsom Hospital and will be visiting every week to help calm anxious young patients and take their minds off their illness or condition.
Alfie and Oak (a Golden Retriever and a Labrador) have been selected as Casey’s Pets As Therapy (PAT) dogs after passing a temperament assessment which showed they would be suitable to be around children (and of course, they’re both fully vaccinated).
Karen Kilday, Ward Manager at Casey Ward, was behind the idea of getting the children’s ward their very own PAT dog, and was delighted when Alfie came in for his first ever visit (both to Epsom Hospital, and as a PAT dog) last week.
On the benefits of having a PAT dog, Karen said: “It’s really great to have a PAT dog in the ward, it helps calm down the children when they are feeling anxious or stressed, and helps them to take their mind off their illnesses. Having two weekly visits from our PAT dogs will give the children something to look forward to during their time with us, and will make long-term stays less daunting.
“Other hospitals and organisations across the country are already using PAT dog schemes and are reporting fantastic results.
“We really enjoyed meeting Alfie, he is such a friendly dog with a great personality. We look forward to seeing much more of him (and meeting Oak!) very soon. PAT dogs are incredibly friendly, and Alfie seemed to adore the attention he got, not only from the children, but the adults too! I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the PAT dog scheme, and their dedicated volunteers for making this possible."
For more information about PAT dogs For more information on PAT schemes, visit: http://petsastherapy.org/.