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Thunder visits Rotherham Hospital

10 Dec 2020 16:46:56
Thunder therapy husky

Thunder the therapy husky paid a visit to Rotherham Hospital recently to bring smiles to hardworking staff.

Staff across the NHS have faced a difficult year battling the Covid-19 pandemic with many feeling fatigued, vulnerable and emotional, but a number of colleagues took the opportunity to reap the rewards of meeting Thunder.

Therapy dogs are well known as being beneficial for mental health as well as physical wellbeing and the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has written guidance on bringing the dogs into clinical settings. Thunder is one of a team of Huskies owned by Adrian Ashworth of Pogmoor who runs Therapy Huskies. 

Research into pet therapy continually shows that specially-trained animals like the therapy Huskies can be used therapeutically to benefit all sorts of people suffering from emotional and behavioural disorders. Each therapy dog visit is carefully planned and tailored to its location and the dogs are gentle and loving.

Dr Richard Jenkins, Chief Executive of The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our colleagues, in every ward and department in the hospital and across our community services, have had to deal with an extraordinary amount and pace of change since March. They have managed this admirably while continuing to provide care for our patients and looking after their own families and loved ones during this difficult period.

“We recognise the toll this can take on our colleagues’ own health and wellbeing, and we are committed to providing a range of help and support to those who may need it. Thunder’s visit is a new way of us helping to lift our colleagues’ spirits. Although he can only see a few members of staff on his visit, he will be back to visit more areas.”

The therapy dogs are known to uplift people in care homes, hospitals, community groups and schools and assist with pain and/or fatigue, as well as supporting the release of oxytocin, resulting in a calming effect. They can assist people to overcome fears and phobias, improve general mood and have an overall positive effect on physical and mental health.

Thunder proved popular with staff who said he helped improve their mood, as well as bringing a sense of affection, comfort and security. Thunder’s first visit lasted just over an hour and colleagues from the Integrated Discharge Team, Family Health and our Clinical Support Services were offered an opportunity to stroke, pat or cuddle him.

Photos from Thunder's visit are available at: