Samantha Marshall, management accountant at Surrey and Sussex Healthcare Trust (SASH) and her dog Chris, return to work after hours to visit and offer pet therapy to patients at the hospital.
Samantha who has worked at SASH for four years and her greyhound Chris, aged eight visit the hospital every Sunday afternoon to allow Chris to meet patients. Samantha and Chris became involved with the Pets as Therapy (PAT) charity in August 2016. The charity provide therapeutic visits to hospitals, hospices, care homes and schools by volunteers with their own friendly dogs (all dogs are temperament tested and vaccinated).
The companionship of a pet is often something that patients miss the most and a visit from a PAT dog can offer comfort and company.
Samantha said: “I love seeing the pleasure on people’s faces when we visit the hospital – not just the patients but their families and the staff as well. Chris is very chilled out about it all. He is happy to have a fuss made and to be patted lots. I always have treats of some kind in my bag to reward him as we’re going around, they are a compromise as he does occasionally eye up the patients’ biscuits.”
Victoria Daley, deputy chief nurse said: “We have had a lot of great feedback from patients about PAT dogs. The visits have such a positive impact on the physiological and psychological wellbeing of patients and we really appreciate that Samantha and Chris give up their spare time to visit the hospital.”