Poppy brightens up the day for Weston stroke survivors

Poppy, a Cockapoo, has made lots of new friends at Weston General Hospital. 

The three year old Pets as Therapy dog was invited to visit the hospital, which is run by Weston Area Health NHS Trust, to help brighten up the day of those recovering from a stroke. 

The first visit was well received, and Poppy will now pay weekly visits to the stroke ward to interact with patients. 

Poppy’s handler Elaine, who has recently been recruited as a Trust volunteer, said: “Poppy has been trained to provide affection and comfort to people in hospitals. 

“Poppy received a warm welcome on the stroke ward today and it’s amazing to watch the boost patients receive from spending time with her.” 

Research has shown that patients can receive social, mental and emotional benefits from spending time with animals. Regular interaction with pets can also help support a person’s recovery. 

Miss Bronwen Bishop, Director of Strategic Development, said: “Our patients on the stroke ward loved meeting Poppy and it really seemed to brighten their day. 

“At the Trust we’re always looking at new ways to improve our patients’ experience. We believe that Poppy and Elaine’s weekly visits will very beneficial to our patients’ rehabilitation – as well as bring a smile to their faces.” 

Pets as Therapy (PAT) is a national charity that has over 5,000 PAT dogs and cats throughout the UK. The charity is becoming increasingly involved in structured animal assisted therapy sessions with occupational therapists working with patients in stroke rehabilitation.