1st August 2013 – Pat a therapy dog during Airedale Hospital’s open day

Posted on August 1, 2013 by AireAdmin

Greyhound Meg has had a crucial job for the past seven years – she has brightened up the lives of hundreds of elderly people and children.

Alongside her owner, 75 year-old Jane Thrower, she has been visiting local hospitals, care homes and groups of children with disabilities. They will be one of the attractions at Airedale Hospital’s Open Day on Thursday 22 August, 12 noon – 4pm, alongside Sasha – a golden retriever therapy dog.

On a weekly basis they visit Airedale Hospital’s ward 24 (for patients with mental health problems) providing care and assessment for people who have dementia and ward 5 for patients who have had a stroke. They also visit the Airedale Centre for Mental Health on the site of  Airedale Hospital and Lynfield Mount Hospital, both run by Bradford District Care Trust.

It is voluntary service and Airedale NHS Foundation Trust and Bradford District Care Trust fund Jane’s expenses.

Meg is now 10 years old and is the third Pets as Therapy dog, commonly known as PAT pets, owned by Jane. She is also an assessor for the service to make sure other pets have the best temperament for their work.

“PAT dogs need to be obedient, very placid, love being handled and be good with both children and elderly people,” said Mrs Thrower, of Eldwick.

“The pets brighten up the lives of patients, it gives them something to talk about – especially if they have been in hospital a long time and miss their own pets.

“A patient with brain damage may respond to very little, but just stroking a dog helps them to relax and it lowers their blood pressure. Even the doctors and nurses look forward to us visiting their wards.”

There will be over 60 stands and activities for the whole family at Airedale Hospital’s open day in a marquee and education centre on the site. Other attractions include a 90 foot cave and cave rescue vehicles; a Life Education Bus for children and a fire engine; a chance to get your blood pressure checked and a host of fitness sessions.

Sodexo, the hospital’s catering company, will be serving freshly made hot dogs between 12 and 1.30pm , then tea, coffee and snacks from 1.30 – 4pm. There will also be an opportunity to sample food from the new hospital menus.

Pets As Therapy has over 5,000 PAT dogs and cats visiting throughout the country. It costs around £75 to register and insure each dog for the charity. For more information visit www.petsastherapy.org