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Ted brings smiles to patient’s faces at hospital as its new therapy dog

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Staying in a hospital can be a stressful time, but Ted the cockapoo has been doing the rounds to boost moral.Ted, Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s new Pets As Therapy (PAT) dog, has made his first visit to the West Dereham ward where he met patients as part of an initiative to improve their wellbeing.The four-legged friend will be six in July and is registered with the charity Canine Concern.

Volunteer Sara with her pet dog Ted and Joanne Rowe

He is now a regular visitor at the QEH every other month from now on to join the other PAT dog Milo, who also regularly visits.While on his first visit, Ted met 70-year-old Irene Fiander, from Lynn, who was being visited by her daughter Zoe.Irene said: “It’s so lovely seeing a dog on the ward – it’s a really nice distraction and makes everyone much happier.”

Ted with Irene

Ted has been a regular PAT dog with Canine Concern since February 2020. His owner Sara Headford knows only too well the calming influence a dog can have in a clinical setting.As a practising nurse of 38 years herself, she trained at the QEH and since has worked through several roles in the health service. In her spare time, she volunteers with Ted. Sara experienced the benefit of PAT dogs first-hand, so signed Ted up so he could start making a difference.She said: “My husband’s grandmother was 99 years of age when she passed away and Ted was the last male love of her life.“We all visited her in Southmeads Hospital in Bristol, when the staff realised Ted was a PAT dog he would visit any patients that wanted to see him and also in the care home in which Gran passed away.” Joanne Rowe, voluntary services manager at the Trust, said: “Dog therapy is a great way to boost morale for patients on our wards. It’s a welcome distraction for patients and provides extra stimulation and supports patients to be more active whilst in hospital.“This is an initiative the QEH is keen to develop over the coming months to make dog therapy on wards a regular occurrence so if you have a PAT registered dog who could visit, please get in touch.”For more information about volunteering, contact Joanne Rowe, by email: volunteerapplications@qehkl.nhs.uk or call 01553 214687.

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