Lister PAT dogs provide special service for patients

More patients than ever are benefitting from the Lister’s PAT (Pets As Therapy) dog team, which provides people with a friendly companion to visit them during their stay at hospital. 

The Lister currently has ten PAT dogs, who have spent more than 230 hours visiting nearly 4,500 inpatients across 14 wards at the Lister this year. The current cohort includes a variety of different breeds such as a Pug and two Labradors.

PAT dogs and their owners are all volunteers and whilst the dogs do not need any specialist training to be a part of the service, they need to be obedient and enjoy being around people. All of the dogs at the Lister have passed an assessment by the Pets As Therapy charity, which ensures they are suitable for work with patients and children.

Above: Clare Boscawen with Mabel, ward sister Angela Bernard and Jayne Abrahams. 

One of the PAT dogs, an Irish Terrier named Mabel, passed her assessment six months ago and is now a regular visitor on renal wards 6A and B.

Speaking about Mabel, owner Clare Boscawen said:

“From the minute I met Mabel, I knew she had the potential to become a PAT dog. She’s nearly three years old, but loves to be fussed over and is very happy keeping people company. Every Tuesday afternoon she will wait by our front door, because she knows that we’ll soon be leaving to visit patients at the Lister.”

Angela Bernard, sister on ward 6B at the Lister, said:

“When I was asked whether I wanted my ward to be visited by a PAT dog, I was a little apprehensive at first. Many of our patients, however, are in hospital for long periods of time and some of them are dog owners themselves who miss their pets – so we decided to give it a go. Mabel first visited our ward last month and it was very rewarding to see the smile on patients’ faces when they met her. She’s calm, very friendly and we can’t wait to have her back!”

Jayne Abrahams, a former inpatient on ward 6B, said:

“My family came to visit me whilst Mabel was on the ward and they loved her. She’s about the right size for the edge of the bed, so I can lean over and stroke her. Mabel is such a friendly dog and she puts a smile on my face whenever I see her.”