‘PAT dogs’ a big hit with outpatients

11 July 2016
A Staffordshire Bull Terrier is one of seven specially-trained dogs that are lifting the spirits in outpatient clinics at Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH).

Lillie, who is a trained Pets as Therapy dog (known as PAT dogs for short), proved to be a big hit with patients when she visited the waiting rooms of five clinics last week.

It's a dog's life: Lillie has been a big hit in Outpatient Clinics PAT dogs and their volunteer handlers have been visiting patients at CUH for many years, but up until last month had only visited the inpatient wards.

They have proven to be a stress reliever for patients and the idea for them visiting outpatient waiting rooms came from Andi Thornton, operations manager for outpatients.

“We have had really positive feedback from patients about the PAT dogs and it’s improving patient experience when people attend the clinics,” said Andi.  

“We’ve found that it’s sparking conversations between people about what pets they have at home and it’s really lightened the atmosphere which can only be beneficial for patients.”

All breeds of dog can become part of a PAT Team, but they must have been with their owner for at least six months, be over nine months of age and be able to pass the temperament assessment.

If you are interested in finding out more you’ll find all the information you need on the Pets As Therapy website – petsastherapy.org, or you can telephone 01494 569130.

CUH is always looking for new members to join the PAT dog team at the hospital, but remember your dog will need to pass the Pets As Therapy training before you can apply to volunteer with your dog. For more details about volunteering at CUH please see cuh.org.uk/volunteer or call 01223 586616.