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Meet Willow the canine volunteer

Pet therapy

Meet newest recruit Willow, the George Eliot Hospital’s therapy dog

Therapy dog Willow and her owner Lesley are the latest volunteer recruits to provide specialist support and care for patients at George Eliot Hospital.

Lesley Catlin started her pet therapy service with her dog Willow at the hospital last month and will initially support specialist nurses treating stroke patients and those living with dementia.

Pet therapy brings comfort, companionship and happiness for patients in hospital or in care, especially those who miss their pets while they are away from home.

Volunteer Lesley Catlin from Bedworth and her pet Willow joined Therapy Dogs Nationwide after finding about the service from a fellow dog walking friend. She had recently retired and wanted to give something back to her local community.

Lesley said:” I had taken early retirement and wanted to volunteer but didn’t want to be away from my dog. Pet therapy is a way I can help others and enjoy extra time with Willow.”

Stroke Clinical Nurse Specialist, Rachel Steatham said:“ Pet therapy is therapeutic and like music therapy can have a positive impact supporting patient recovery. Pets bring comfort to patients and enabling them to stroke or interact with a canine friend can help them find comfort during a difficult time in their lives.”

Willow and Lesley have also started providing a support service at Trinity Lodge Care Home in Coventry.

Therapy Dogs Nationwide is a registered charity managed entirely by volunteers. Therapy dogs have been found to bring positive benefits to people in a variety of settings including hospitals, hospices, residential homes, schools, care centres and prisons.

The pet therapy service will also be a feature of the new George Eliot Hospital Serenity Garden project which recently became the 2019 Mayor’s Charity.

Just giving: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/george-eliot-hospital-nhs-trust

Easyfundraising: https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/serenitygarden/

Willow and her owner Lesley Catlin with Managing Director David Eltringham
Volunteers Week 2019

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