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Cheshire NHS trust volunteers hold ceremony in thanks of therapy dogs

More than 30 dogs and their owners attended cathedral event

Therapy dogs and owners outside Liverpool Anglican Cathedral

Two volunteers from Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CWP) took time to ‘paws’ for thought by hosting an event in celebration of local therapy dogs.

Clare Grimshaw and Pete Fleming, who together with a group of passionate pooch lovers started the charity Therapy Dogs Nationwide, often visit CWP’s mental health inpatient unit Millbrook with their dogs to bring friendship and companionship to service users.

Cathedral Vice Dean Miles Davies blessing some therapy dogs

The ceremony took place at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral and was attended by 34 dogs and their owners from around the region – all of whom are accredited by the charity and volunteer their time to visit people in hospitals and care homes.

The service was led by the cathedral’s Vice Dean Miles Davies, who also blessed each dog individually in recognition of their selfless devotion to supporting some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.

CWP volunteer Clare Grimshaw said: “It was amazing that so many of us had the opportunity to give thanks to our therapy dogs. Wherever we go they provide so much joy to people. If we could all see the world through the eyes of a therapy dog it would be a much happier place. Thank you to Liverpool Anglican Cathedral for being so welcoming and to everyone who was able to join us on the day.”

CWP volunteers Pete Fleming (left) Clare Grimshaw who organised the thanksgiving event

Research shows that introducing a companion animal to a care environment can result in a rise in patient health and wellbeing, with the presence of a cat or dog often helping service users feeling more comfortable, more communicative and motivated to engage with those around them.

Lorraine Van Sluis, CWP Voluntary Services lead, said: “Volunteers such as Clare and Pete (and of course their wonderful dogs) are such an invaluable asset for the trust. “By giving their time, energy, skills and experience, they enhance the care that we deliver and add value to the experiences of our service users and carers. I am very proud of all our volunteers and can’t thank them enough.”

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