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Hate going to hospital? These children's hospital dog-tors will lend you a paw

Hospital Therapy Dogs dog-happy
© Leo & Friends Therapy Dogs - Facebook

No child really enjoys going to the hospital, but a team of six friendly canines are lending a helping paw to make the experience more entertaining and fun.

By Zoe Monk , 10 Sep 2019

Going to the hospital for an x-ray or examination isn’t much fun and for children, it can be quite an upsetting experience. But at Southampton Children’s Hospital, they’ve introduced a very special team of six ‘dog-tors’ who are doing the rounds to put patients at ease and have a much more enjoyable hospital experience.

One of the team have helped to make a video to explain what happens when children come in for a scan, while another has even had an echocardiogram to show children how it’s done.

Milo, Hattie, Quinn, Jessie, Leo and Archie are all Golden Retrievers and they visit the hospital five times a week visiting patients.

Film Star Leo

Leo even has a starring role in a video made to show children that there’s nothing to worry about if they have to come into hospital for an x-ray or scan.

Working with Pets As Therapy volunteers, these kind-hearted canines help patients with physiotherapy sessions, accompanying patients to x-ray or the operating theatre. They also help the therapy team with distraction techniques.

Volunteer helpers

The volunteers join Pets As Therapy for a number of reasons. For over seven years, Lyndsey Uglow has been a volunteer with Pets As Therapy, visiting Southampton Children’s Hospital. Lyndsey was inspired to volunteer after her son had acute myeloid leukaemia in 2018. While in the hospital, Lyndsey's son really missed the family dogs. When he recovered, Lyndsey wanted to do something to give to the hospital who had cared for her son.

Give something back day...

Watch: Happy give something away day! Hear from Lyndsey with her Pets as Therapy dog Leo as to why she got involved with the hospital. Giving back time is Lyndsey’s way of thanking the hospital for the care of her son 11 years ago. Learn more about you can help the hospital:

Posted by Southampton Hospital Charity UK on Friday, July 12, 2019

550 patients helped

And it’s not just the patients who benefit from these six special dog-tors. They also support siblings who have come to the hospital to visit a poorly relative. In the last year, the doggies and their four volunteer humans have seen as many as 1900 patients at the hospital with over 550 benefiting from a helping paw from one of the dogs.

Not surprisingly, young patients look forward to a visit from one of the dogs and their families have seen how a visit from a canine pal has helped their children feel more positive about being in the hospital. In a survey, parents have told Pets As Therapy just what the benefits have been to their children and family as a whole.

“I will never forget seeing you whilst my little one was poorly and the difference you made to her recovery,” said one parent.

“Love the therapy dogs. Distracted my normally nervous daughter whilst she was having her video telemetry,” added another.

Well done to these beautiful dogs! Thank you for putting smiles on people's faces every day!