Medway hospital therapy dogs return to duty

Date: 06 October 2021

Therapy Dogs news

Medway NHS Foundation Trust has welcomed back therapy dogs Yazzy and Fred, bringing cheer to patients, staff and visitors at Medway Maritime Hospital.

Six-year-old Golden Retriever Yazzy and his owner, Janice McCauley, represent national charity Pets As Therapy, and three-year-old Havanese Maltese cross Fred – owned by Trust Voluntary Services Manager Zoe Goodman – were regular hospital visitors prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, helping to reduce anxiety and stress in patients and staff.

As a result of the introduction of strict hospital visiting rules and infection control procedures, the pair have been unable to carry out their duties for some time. However, the popular duo officially returned to work this week, after procedures were finalised to ensure the safety of the dogs, their owners and the patients they see, amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

On Wednesday, Yazzy and Fred embarked on a combined shift, their first in nearly 18 months, at the delight of hospital patients, staff and visitors.

Janice McCauley said: ‘It means so much to us to be involved and it was really lovely to walk back through the hospital doors with Yazzy - it certainly brightened everyone’s day, including ours, and we are very happy to be helping again.

‘’The response from all the patients, nurses, doctors, and other staff has been absolutely fantastic. It’s like we’ve never been away.’’

Dr George Findlay, Medway NHS Foundation Trust Chief Executive, added: “We are delighted to welcome back our therapy dogs and we thank Janice, Zoe, Fred and Yazzy for their time and efforts.

"Therapy animals like Yazzy and Fred make a real difference to our patients, bringing comfort and happiness during what can be a very stressful time in hospital."

Zoe Goodman, Voluntary Services Manager at Medway NHS Foundation Trust, said: ‘’The therapy that Fred and Yazzy offer to our patients, visitors and staff is immeasurable. If there are any patients that would like to request a visit from the dogs, please speak to our voluntary services team or a member of staff and we will do our upmost to accommodate this.’’

  • Summary:

    Medway NHS Foundation Trust has welcomed back therapy dogs Yazzy and Fred, bringing cheer to patients, staff and visitors at Medway Maritime Hospital.