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Hospice bids a fond farewell to a special Lady
21 October 2010
Staff and patients at Saint Francis Hospice have bid a fond farewell to a special volunteer. Lady the PAT dog has visited patients at the day hospice most Wednesdays for the past 10 years, as part of a scheme called Pets As Therapy, and is now retiring.
Lady, a Border Collie Retriever cross, was selected as a PAT dog due to her gentle temperament. During her visits, patients were able to give Lady a stroke or a cuddle – or sometimes a sneaky biscuit - as a way to relax.
Her owner, Pat Pridham, explained the benefits of having a dog in the day hospice.
Pat said: “It’s a very homely touch to have a dog wandering about, so many people come into the hospice and worry it will be institutional and clinical, but Lady makes them feel like they are at home. Stroking animals has been proven to lower people’s blood pressure.
“Lady is such a happy dog, but also quiet and well behaved, so is never pushy, just wagging her tail and waiting for an invitation. Many patients have said they don’t usually like dogs, but that Lady is different. She’s made an enormous impact on our lives, and on so many others. She’s a real poppet.”
On her last day at the hospice on September 8th, Lady was given a card and presents, and had one last cuddle with the patients who loved her so much.
Patient Pat Mallett said: “She will undoubtedly be very missed by everyone in the day hospice. She was very gentle, and it added something to the day hospice having her here. She has definitely earned her rest!”
Hospice chaplain Graham Laut, said that Lady not only had a relaxing effect on the patients, but also on the staff. “I’d not had a dog for years, but it was always lovely having her here. She brought back memories for those patients who had a dog, but who are no longer able to look after one. She’s been part of the furniture for a very long time, and will be really missed.”
Following her retirement do, we heard that sadly, Lady died on Monday 27th September.
Hazel Lake, the Occupational Therapy Team Leader said: “We would like to wish our condolences to Pat, who we know will miss Lady very much indeed. I would like to thank Pat personally for bringing Lady up to the hospice for all those years, I know both the patients and staff benefitted from those visits immensely.”
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