Yorkshire Times
Voice of the North
1:03 PM 21st November 2019

Paw-some Therapy Dog Putting Smiles On Faces Of Young Hospital Patients

Lucy with patient Joey Bailey
Lucy with patient Joey Bailey
A paw-some therapy dog has been putting smiles on faces at Bradford Royal Infirmary’s Children and Young People’s Unit.

Pets As Therapy dog Lucy, five, and her owner Charmaine Bailey have proved a big hit during recent visits to the hospital, part of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Ward Manager Michelle Wilson welcomed the pair, who are qualified to support patients, to children’s wards 30 and 32 after picking the pooch from eight prospective canine candidates.

She said:
“The idea was sparked about 18 months ago when I met a very cute Pug called Alfie at a Pets As Therapy event. Meeting him and hearing about the amazing therapeutic work he and his owner do was inspiring!

“On a daily basis my own dog has a positive impact on my wellbeing. She instantly lifts my mood when I get home from a difficult shift, and after lots of meetings and planning we were finally able to recruit our own Pets As Therapy dog.

“I had to shortlist from eight canine candidates; it was such a difficult decision to make. But we interviewed Lucy and her owner Charmaine and they were perfect for the job. They have visited twice now and the feedback has been very positive from patients, families and staff.”

Inpatient Joey Bailey, of Denholme, was thrilled to meet cockerpoo Lucy during one of her visits. His mum, Jenny Bailey, said:
“Pets As Therapy provide a great service which makes a big difference to a child’s day and lets them forget they are ill.”

The nationwide registered charity also provides therapeutic visits to nursing homes and hospices.

Charmaine said the pair were delighted to visit the children’s unit at BRI, each armed with their own Trust ID badge, of course!

She said:
“Lucy is very, very friendly and you cannot put into words the impact she has when she meets people.

“She provides joy, comfort and peace and can help some people forget what’s wrong with them. She’s great with relatives and staff too and has already built-up a special rapport with the young patients.”

Michelle added:
“Lucy has been really good and has had a lot of fun with the children, who loved her!”

Lucy has met our young patients in the Children and Young People Unit’s Discharge Lounge to make sure she does not alarm others who may be frightened of her.

We are very grateful to Charmaine, who is also a Chaplaincy volunteer at the Trust, and Lucy for travelling from their home in Halifax to brighten up some of our young patients’ days.

Keep your eyes peeled for the pair as they are now set to visit the children’s unit at BRI a couple of times each month!