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Pets are good for us!

As a speech and Language Therapist in Acute Medicine at the Western General Hospital (WGH), I am always looking for new ways to stimulate and encourage patients to engage and participate in the therapeutic process. This can be easier said than done sometimes, but I think if I could bottle what my wee dog Pippin does on his weekly Therapet visit to the stroke Unit on Ward 50, I’d be very successful Therapist indeed.

Pippin is a young Miniature Schnauzer and along with his Canine Colleague, Isla the Black Labrador who visits Ward 55, they bring a ridiculous amount of pleasure, stimulate a lot of conversation and interaction, and have even helped the odd person with their mobility and upper limb movement (via lots of patting and cuddling). Dealing with a new illness or coping with a long term condition is challenging for all of our patients, and the few moments of joy, diversion and stimulation these dogs provide, often helps to alleviate symptoms associated with low mood and lack of motivation too. Stroking and interacting with dogs has also been shown to release endorphins, lower blood pressure and distract from pain and discomfort. And if that wasn’t enough, staff members and visitors also love meeting them and feedback from them has been hugely positive.

If you would like to know more about the Therapet Service you can contact me or contact Canine Concern Scotland Trust ( who oversee the service in the hospital and to whom any donations should be made.

Ros Todd

Speech and Language Therapist

Western General Hospital

Picture above;

Left to right: Ceirwan Wharry (Dep Charge Nurse, Ward 55), Therapet Isla with CCST volunteer Martyn Wright, Therapet Pippin and CCST volunteer Ros Todd, Eilidh Hannah (Staff Nurse Ward 50)”. Ceirwan and Eilidh are the nurses responsible for supporting the Therapets on their wards.

This article appeared in Connections - NHS Lothian’s regular newspaper July 2018. And permission for use authorised by NHS Lothian media

Written by Ros Todd

Picture property of NHS Lothian media all rights reserved, unauthorised use prohibited

Link to full online edition at NHS Lothian’s regular newspaper July 2018

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