Stroud Times met volunteers from Pets As Therapy (PAT), a national charity that provides animal-assisted therapeutic visits across the county, at the Covid-19 vaccination centre near Berkeley.
The charity was founded in 1983 by Lesley Scott-Ordish, a dog owner and passionate volunteer who understood the bond between humans and animals. Today the charity aims to ensure that everyone in the UK, no matter their circumstances, has access to the companionship of a friendly pet.
Pets as Therapy is currently seeking volunteers and their dogs from Gloucestershire to get involved.
Area co-ordinator Jan Keats explained: “Within our area, which covers from Stroud down through the A38, taking in the surrounding villages, we visit nursing homes, hospices, hospitals, ambulance stations, prisons. Anywhere that we are invited to go, we will go (within reason) with our dogs.”
Volunteer John Paddock added: “I come to the vaccination hub where I help the children or the adults or the staff to cope with the day. My dog is a golden retriever called Winston and he’s about six years old and he loves people – he loves being read to by the by the children.
“I love the group and the mixture of different dogs and different people and the fact that we’re all volunteers for a charity and we all go out and help as much as we can.
“The difficulty is that lots of places want us to go, but there aren’t enough volunteers, so anybody else who can come along and help, that would be great.”
Full details of how to get involved with Pets as Therapy can be found on the website, https://petsastherapy.org/