Patient Ted van Dort with Bramble and owner Beth Sandham
Patients at the Royal Berkshire Hospital are thoroughly enjoying the benefits of Pets As Therapy (PAT) pooch Bramble as part of their hospital stay; and it’s clear to see by the smile on everyone’s faces when he walks onto a ward that his weekly visits are welcomed.
Bramble and his owner Beth Sandham are delighted with the reception they are receiving: “Bramble is only just 2 years old and is a toy poodle. He has a wonderful nature and loves cuddles so is perfect for patients to pet.
“I decided to become involved in PAT because I know just how therapeutic dogs can be to people of all ages. They lower blood pressure and bring considerable enjoyment to people who are happy in the company of these amazing, empathetic creatures. Not all dogs have the right personality to do visiting work, but those that do, like Bramble, can really help to make a difference to people's lives.”
Lynn Bayliss, Voluntary Services Manager who organised the initiative said: “Before Bramble was allowed to visit he had to pass the relevant health, obedience and temperance assessments at PAT. We are so pleased that he did as he is an adorable dog, and he and Beth bring so much joy to the patients. It’s a real pleasure to see and I thank them both, along with the ward staff, for making this such a successful scheme.”
It is well recognised that animals can provide comfort to patients that are missing their pets at home or those that have had pets in the past.
“Patients often find it easy to communicate verbally with pets especially if they do not get regular visitors and those who cannot speak find touch extremely therapeutic, “ explained Sharon Herring, Director of Nursing for Networked Care at the Trust.
“Bramble is a lovely, passive dog and small enough to sit on a patients lap.
The patients all want to make a fuss of him and no matter how long the visit it never seems enough time for everyone!”
When Bramble isn’t cheering up patients he loves playing with his best doggy friend Honey who he lives with. He gets excited about walks in the woods and playing ball. His also has another job which involves reading with children in a nearby primary school as part of the PAT read2dogs scheme.