Hospice youngsters benefit from puppy love
Youngsters at Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People have an unusual new staff member… and it was love at first sight - puppy love!
Toni the Golden Retriever has just been introduced to the hospice for youngsters with life-limiting conditions and is already putting smiles on faces.
Bringing Toni onto the Rainbows team was the idea of Lynne DeMelo, Clinical Nurse Specialist in Palliative Care, who has a wealth of experience at Rainbows gained over 17 years.
Toni is a 12-month-old breeding pooch and comes from Guide Dogs for the Blind. She has an additional future role of producing puppies to become guide dogs.
Lynne explained: “The calming effect of animals in a care setting is well-documented and can be very therapeutic.
She added: “We have a beautifully trained dog with a wonderful temperament, who lights up faces. Sometimes the sense of normality for families of seeing and interacting with a dog can be significant.”
The move is already brightening the lives of children and young people at the Loughborough-based hospice charity.
Four-year-old Harpal Dhaliwal (right), is pictured with mother Kamaljit (centre) and sister Sophinder (nine, left) with Rainbows Care Team members Jackie Markgraf and Golden Retriever Toni.