Excitement is Growing - Its nearly Here!
Excitement is growing for the HiLife PAT Dog of the Year Award
Now, we don’t like to wish our lives away but we CAN’T WAIT for 8th March when the worthy winner of HiLife PAT Dog of the Year will be announced at Crufts 2014.
The charity Pets as Therapy (PAT) has over 5,000 volunteers. Their registered PAT dogs visit hospitals, care homes, schools and even prisons to provide animal assisted therapy, bringing comfort, smiles and friendship to 1000s of people every week.
We’re very proud to be sponsoring this award for the 10th year running and are delighted to be able to support the work these wonderful dogs do.
So let’s meet the finalists!
Murphy is a very special Golden Retriever who brings joy and comfort to dementia patients and elderly residents at Yeatman Hospital in Dorset. Staff at the hospital report that patients respond well to Murphy in a way they would not otherwise witness. Murphy also visits Hayes Residential Home in Sherborne where he brings happiness and laughter to residents and comfort to those nearing the end of their lives.
“Murphy is my second PAT dog and everyone loves him. He joins in all the fun with the residents at Hayes. He even contributes to the communal singing in the lounge!”
Owner, Carol Cleaver
Bodie may be small in stature, but he’s a very big-hearted Jack Russell Terrier who loves to visit elderly care home residents and children with special needs in Conwy.
When Bodie walks into the rooms of residents at Merton Place Nursing Home in Conwy, their faces light up. One 88-year-old resident, who is bed-ridden following a stroke, says he gives her something to look forward to every week and always makes a big fuss of her.
Bodie loves children and regularly visits Ty Gobaith Children’s Hospice where they play with him and take him for a walk. He also visits the Sensory Department and Individual Learning Services in Llandrillo College to help students with learning difficulties or other special needs.
“He loves it! He waits outside the door until they play ‘Who Let the Dogs Out’?" or ‘Come on Eileen’ then he puts his nose to the window so they can see he is ready.”
Owner, Eileen Hodge
Charlie is an Airedale Terrier from North Yorkshire who enriches the lives of adults
with severe learning difficulties in Whorlton Hall Hospital, County Durham.
He also spends time behind the bars of H.M.P. Wealstun in Wetherby, where he offers prisoners a link with ‘normal life’, reminding them of the joy a relationship with a pet can bring and providing an incentive to get out and stay out of prison.
“The places Charlie works are unusual and sometimes difficult environments but he brings such pleasure to people and they never want him to leave.”
Owner, Ruth Boyes
Marque is a very special Boxer who brings comfort to adults with severe cerebral palsy in Camborne. He was nominated by Scope Rosewarne where he helps service users to build their confidence and self-esteem through mental and sensual stimuli.
Marque was also nominated by Illogan School in Redruth where he has been helping children improve their reading ability through the PAT Read2Dogs scheme. He is now attending two Read@Dog sessions a week at the Curnow School in Redruth where he is helping children with severe learning difficulties to improve and enjoy their reading.
“The children love reading to Marque as he just happily sits and listens without interruption. The atmosphere is so much calmer as the children feel under less pressure. It’s been amazing to see how their confidence has grown.”
Owner, Tony Cousins
Bill is a black Labrador who lights up the days of life-limited children, young people and young adults in Oswestry.
Hope House Children’s Hospice nominated their “special friend” and say they never have the Monday morning blues when they know he’s visiting.
Bill, previously a show dog and father of a rather impressive 97 puppies, was re-homed at retirement and was spotted by his owner on the Lab Rescue website where it was love at first sight.
“It’s a privilege to share such a wonderful dog. He also visits Marshes School, a local retirement home and the Orthopedic Hospital in Oswestry. Everyone is very excited he’s made it to the final.”
Owner, Val Howell
Toastie is a Cocker Spaniel who recently helped to improve the life of a 12-year-old Borehamwood girl suffering from a severe dog phobia.
The girl’s terror of dogs was so bad that, even though she could only see Toastie through a two-way mirror in a separate room, she was still stuck to the wall with fear. It took almost a year and a lot of patience but she now happily cuddles Toastie and enjoys taking her for a walk.
Toastie also visits Hindermount Rest Home and Hadley Lawns Nursing Home where she spends time with some very frail residents who are confined to bed.
“She is amazingly gentle, calm and affectionate with them, almost as if she knows they need extra special care. She is a very special dog indeed.”
Owner, Elaine Cole
We think they all deserve to win but look out for our winner’s announcement in March to see which special dog comes out on top! You can find out more about Pets as Therapy here: www.petsastherapy.org