On Monday, the Prince of Wales visited Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital located in central London. As the patron, he was there to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the British Geriatrics Society.
Whilst there, he made friends with Little Dorrit, a six-year-old Miniature Pinscher. He held her in the crook of one arm, and they made friends as he contentedly scratched her ears.
The Prince met with hospital staff and volunteers who provide care to dementia patients and to those who’ve suffered horrible falls which have impacted their health. He also spoke with Little Dorrit’s owner on how the dog helps these elderly patients.
Little Dorrit has been coming to the hospital for the past four years to comfort and provide therapy to the patients on the ward. Her owner, Diana Mukuma, and matron, Darlene Romero, explained the huge benefits therapy dogs could have for patients.
Ms Romero said: “They cuddle her and they touch her, and it is very calming for them. We have a patient currently on the ward, and she loves Little Dorrit. She used to be very restless, not able to breathe without oxygen.
“But with Dorrit around, she was able to calm down and come off the oxygen for more than an hour.”
Ms Mukuma, who volunteers at the hospital, said it was “wonderful” to see the impact the dog has on people.
She continued: “You see patients who are not so sure and say, ‘I used to have a dog but don’t want her on my bed’, but gradually they remember. It is very good for them, and they recall a lot of things.”
Ms Romero added: “It is very overwhelming. Sometimes we can’t do that with medical intervention or by engaging with them, but it is a different type of therapy a dog offers.”