Katie and Cookie
Katie and Cookie are a pair of trained Visiting Therapy Dogs who work with patients, staff and visitors across Medway Maritime Hospital. You will probably have seen them in their trademark red volunteer vests, roaming about the Trust with Bob and Janet Clarke, their owners.
Janet and Bob originally discovered Katie, the elder of the two dogs, in 2003, after a friend had told them about her. Katie’s owner was emigrating, and her future looked uncertain. After meeting her, Bob and Janet took the decision to take her on as their own. Though she was nervous and underweight to begin with, Janet’s patient and devoted care helped Katie to return to her full strength. She began her initial dog training straight away, and has never looked back.
Having attained the Gold Level of the Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme, Katie was in a strong position when she started her career as a Visiting Therapy Dog in 2008. She proved so popular with patients that a second Labrador, Cookie, joined the Visiting Therapy Dog team in 2011.
“We visit most of the medical wards at the hospital, and, by request, we will also visit waiting areas including the Emergency Ward,” said Katie. “Staff can request a visit from us for particular patients where they think this will be of particular comfort.
“Both Cookie and I are specially trained in health and safety, and infection control, and we work very closely with the infection control team.”
In addition to their work as Visiting Therapy Dogs at the Trust, Katie and Cookie work closely with clinical psychologists on dog phobia desensitisation programmes, for young people with a fear of dogs, and have had great success.
To find out more about Katie and Cookie, including how to book a visit on a ward, please contact