Pets as Therapy volunteer programme re-introduced at Pinderfields | Latest news

Pets as Therapy volunteer programme re-introduced at Pinderfields

A staff member at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield, has this week introduced her cat as part of the Pets as Therapy volunteer programme, which sees volunteers share their time and their pets with people in need.

The Charity ‘Pets As Therapy’ (PAT) are a community based Animal Assisted Therapy established throughout the UK. The charity has a team of dedicated volunteers who share their time and their pets with people needing company.

Anita Dinsdale, a Personal Assistant in surgery division, at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield, has been a Pets as Therapy Volunteer for over four years. Anita has had her cat ‘Zemo’ (pictured) since November last year and he is registered with the Pets as Therapy Charity. Zemo, as well as all the other animals involved in the programme receive six months of training and monitoring to see if they will make suitable companions taking on visits to patients and the elderly.

The initiative, which has recently restarted at The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust following a one year gap, was re-instated with the support and encouragement of Matron Alison Gill (Medicine Management).

Anita Dinsdale, Personal Assistant in surgery division, at Pinderfields Hospital, said: “Zemo has been a huge success on gate 42 already this week and the feedback so far from the patients has been extremely positive. I’m hoping to continue visiting the elderly care wards at Pinderfields Hospital on Saturdays and occasionally Ward 10 at Dewsbury and District Hospital.”

Patient June Fisher, (pictured above), has been missing her cat Izzie whilst being in hospital and very much appreciated the time spent with Zemo the cat.

The Pets as Therapy scheme has already been introduced in a number of other NHS Trusts in recent years with all PAT dogs and cats undergoing a rigorous independent health and temperament test before they can enter hospital premises.

Vikki Padgett, Voluntary Services Manager at The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust said:  “Zemo has brought so much joy to the patients this week; it’s been a real pleasure working with Anita who has so generously donated her time and the ward staff have been fantastic in helping to make this happen. Zemo has such a good temperament and is ever so friendly. 

Vikki added; “We are always looking for more willing PAT volunteers and volunteer pets, and I would encourage anyone interested to visit our Trust website for more information. We are delighted to be welcoming two more PAT volunteers and their dogs in the New Year.”