Therapy dog Magnus delivers smiles to children’s ward

Magnus, the Brussels Griffon terrier, has joined the team of ‘Snuggle Officers’ that volunteer at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH) to cheer up and fuss over patients.

The four-legged helper has been making weekly visits to the Children’s Ward at Doncaster Royal Infirmary, spending some time with youngsters and getting strokes, belly rubs and plenty of playtime as part of the bargain.

Iqbal Lall, Play Leader at DBTH, said: “A stay in hospital can be a worrying time for children, especially younger ones who may not fully understand where they are or why they are here and Magnus has been a very welcome distraction. Those children who don’t have pets at home get a unique opportunity to play with him one-on-one and those who do have their own pets are reminded of home which helps with their recovery.”

Magnus is a registered Pets as Therapy volunteer. Pets as Therapy are a charity which organises therapeutic visits to hospitals, nursing homes and schools. All animals registered with the charity must pass a behavioural test to make sure they are up for the job and Magnus passed his with flying colours. Since then, he has worked in a local nursing home and with children who have learning difficulties.

Louise Huby is proud mum to Magnus and accompanies him on his working visits to the children’s ward. She said: “I love doing this with Magnus, when you see a poorly child, or a child with learning difficulties, with him they just light up and come out of their shells and it’s so heart-warming to see.”

“Pets as Therapy is a charity and we do this on a volunteer basis but we get paid in happiness tokens and it’s so rewarding for both of us.”

Magnus will continue to visit the ward every Wednesday, bringing a little bit of joy to young patients at the hospital (as well as plenty of staff).