“You saw with your own eyes there the difference this little dog has made in his life.”
On Thursday 17th October 2019 Alfie the Pets As Therapy pug was invited onto ITV’s This Morning, to be interviewed by Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby as part of their Dog Walk of Fame. They were joined by four-year-old Charlie Robinson and his dad, who Alfie visited regularly during his stays in hospital.
In June 2018 Charlie began getting headaches and sickness, and when they didn’t go away he was sent for an MRI scan which revealed he had a brain tumour. Surgery failed to remove the tumour and so he had to undergo several rounds of chemotherapy, meaning that he had long periods of staying in hospital. Of course, for a young child, and for his parents, this was an incredibly difficult time. The hospital which Charlie was staying in in Liverpool is one that Alfie makes regular visits to with his owner, Pets As Therapy volunteer Suzy Emsden, and so Alfie was able to visit Charlie and make his stays more bearable.
“For a moment somebody isn’t a patient or the parent of a patient, they’re just a person cuddling a dog, and it’s magical.” – Suzy Emsden, PAT volunteer and Alfie’s owner
They were invited onto This Morning to tell their story, but it turned into the perfect example of pet therapy in action. As you can see in the video, Charlie and his dad are brought into the studio first, and Charlie is clearly anxious and stressed, messing with his microphone. As soon as Alfie comes into the studio his demeanour visibly changes. He calms down, starts smiling, and blows Alfie a kiss – this is the power of Pets As Therapy visits. If you missed them on This Morning give the video below a watch, but be prepared, it’s an emotional one!
To support a dog like Alfie, please consider making a one-off or regular donation to Pets As Therapy. Your donations help us to place more dogs and cats into hospitals, hospices, care homes, schools, and prisons across the UK, offering support to people just like Charlie.