PAT Stories

Jo Kaddish & Meg

“Spending time with my little dog brings people such obvious joy and she can help them on their road to recovery.”

Jo Kaddish lives in the village of Hurstpierpoint in West Sussex. She became a PAT Volunteer in 2019, and now visits with her PAT Dog Meg, a small cockerpoo who is nine years old.

“We visit a rehabilitation unit for patients recovering from brain injuries at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath,” Jo smiles. “We’re always greeted with open arms and Meg has a great fuss made of her by members of staff before we even start on the wards.”

Jo says everyone seems to cheer up from the minute she and Meg go through the door. “It can take us a while to get to the ward as people keep stopping us to ask about Meg. She genuinely seems to enjoy visiting the patients and is very happy to be patted and cuddled by everyone!”

Physiotherapists and occupational therapists also schedule in the PAT Team to help them. “Stroking Meg has proved to be an excellent way for patients to exercise paralysed limbs,” Jo explains. “This therapy is now referred to as ‘Meg’s magic’. We also occasionally go for a walk around the grounds with any patient nearing discharge. We’re accompanied by physios and it’s a way for people who have a dog at home to practice taking it for a stroll under supervision.”

Simply being there
Jo and Meg are also regular visitors at St Peter & St James Hospice in Wivelsfield Green. “Every Wednesday we go to the wellbeing centre and meet outpatients for a coffee and a chat. Once again, Meg gets a wonderful welcome. As soon as we walk into the room everyone’s face lights up. Meg and I go round and chat to everyone in turn and Meg gets loads of fuss. We also visit any inpatients who the nurses feel would benefit from a visit.”

Jo reveals that she loves her volunteering role. “I really enjoy sharing Meg with others,” she says. “Spending time with my little dog brings people such obvious joy and she can help them on their road to recovery or simply be there if someone is going through a very difficult time. I think anyone who has a suitable pet should give volunteering a go. It is extremely rewarding to see what a difference a visit by a pet makes.”

Having fun
On the days when Jo isn’t helping others, she’s still busy. “I thoroughly enjoy playing lawn bowls at my local club several times a week, and both Meg and I like being in the garden — Meg loves having balls thrown for her! I also thoroughly enjoy my daily walks with Meg where I meet up with many friends.”

We are always looking to recruit more volunteers.

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