A Pets As Therapy (PAT) dog who has given comfort and love to children, young people and adults with life-limiting conditions is to have his spot in the limelight at the world’s biggest dog show.
Maida, a seven-year old Borzoi (Russian Wolfhound), and her owner Julia Marvin from Ponteland, have been visiting St Oswald’s patients and families every week since 2012. Maida is well known throughout the Hospice and patients, children and young adults look forward to her visits.
Julia explained: “Maida has been going to Crufts every year since 2011. She is now qualified for life as she has a Stud Book number, which she won by coming first at a Championship Show. Maida is popular with patients and children at St Oswald’s and they are all very excited about her Crufts entry.
Julia added: “Maida is currently on a diet as part of her prep for Crufts but a lot of the Day Hospice patients like to give her biscuits. I’ve had to put a stop to that and I’ve started bringing carrot sticks in for her instead!
“Maida really enjoys her visits to the hospice, we make sure that we spend time with everyone who wants to see us, both across the adult and children and young adult services. She’s a loving dog and seems to be very empathetic towards the patients. She gives each person individual time, and she’s the perfect height for petting from a wheelchair or bed. I don’t just see her as my dog, she belongs to all the patients and children as well.”
A Day Hospice patient at the Newcastle upon Tyne based hospice said: “The patients at St Oswald’s have really adopted Maida, she’s part of the ‘family’. She’s a very loving and placid dog who gives lots of cuddles and kisses. We all really look forward to seeing her and can’t wait to hear how she gets on a Crufts.”
The national charity Pets As Therapy (PAT) provides therapeutic visits to hospitals, hospices, care homes and other venues by volunteers with their own friendly, temperament-tested and vaccinated pets. St Oswald’s already has several PAT cat and dog volunteers, however they are looking for more PAT qualified pets.
If you think your pet would make a great volunteer at the Hospice, please contact St Oswald’s Volunteer Office on 0191 246 9125 or email [email protected]. The hospice provides volunteers with full training and support and travel expenses can be provided.