How Labradors are helping our patients

In our hospices, we’re always looking for ways to support people living with a terminal illness and make them and their families more comfortable. Whether that means having spiritual support, art therapy, reflexology and massaging, we’ll do all we can. So, let us introduce you to our Pets as Therapy companions, two dogs – both called Ruby! – that are companions to residents at Marie Curie Hospice, West Midlands.

Pets as Therapy (PAT) is a community-based charity that gives hospices therapeutic visits. Everyone’s a volunteer, bringing their very own pet cats and dogs. 

What’s it like? We took along a video camera to show you the difference Sarah’s dog, Ruby, makes to our West Midlands hospice.

We took some time to talk to David Colledge, owner of the second Labrador called Ruby. 

David says, “When I bring Ruby in you can see people’s faces light up. They’re so happy to see her. Sometimes they’ve had pets themselves in the past, and you can really see it makes people’s day. I’d say even 20 minutes does them the world of good.

“The thing with Ruby though is she loves licking people’s hands and playing with them, so it’s really easy to sneak her some treats. I have to keep a real eye out as the residents love to give her some extra food and I don’t want her getting overweight!” 

Interested in helping out in one of our hospices with a pet? Visit our visit volunteers pages to find out more.