PAT Stories

Keith Poultney & Bella

“Many of families have been at the refugee centre for over six months and there are growing concerns over their mental wellbeing. I know people have left their family pets behind in Ukraine.”

Keith Poultney from south Wales is a PAT Volunteer with his 10-year-old black Labrador Bella. The PAT Team visits a refugee centre and spends time with Ukrainian families.

“Visits to the centre started during the early summer months where we were welcomed by both staff and families,” Keith explains. “There are smiles all round when we arrive and there is barely a minute on our visits when Bella is not being fussed over. Some of the children will bring her water or a treat, and we often go for walks together around the car park."

“I have heard that many of the residents have been at the refugee centre for over six months and there are growing concerns over their mental wellbeing. The PAT visits offer slight relief for some. Obviously there is a language barrier, but I know people have left their family pets behind in Ukraine, or they’ve had them taken away on arrival in the UK under quarantine laws."

Besotted by Bella
Keith continues: "One young boy often comes to sit by Bella and will quietly and gently stroke her. Apparently he had to leave his pet cat named Simba when they fled from their home."

It’s not only children who enjoy spending time with Bella. “People of all ages love her. There is a much older lady who will always come across to enthusiastically fuss Bella. I learnt that recently she has had to put her husband who has dementia in a residential home. So now she finds herself alone in a foreign country.

“Wherever we go Bella always puts a smile on peoples’ faces. She provides for many that brief welcome from the grind of everyday life. That’s why I volunteer. I can’t think of anything more rewarding.”



We are always looking to recruit more volunteers.

You can find more info here


Follow us on social media:

Back to Listing

Other recent stories

8 May 2024

Tim Robinson & Betsy

Residents at a South East London care home have fallen in love with a gentle cocker spaniel, who visits with her owner Tim.

16 April 2024

Gerry Ochojna & Reika

PAT Dog Reika has young fans at three schools in the Scottish Highlands and is helping them to forget their worries.

12 March 2024

Isabel Serafim & Mr London

Isabel's PAT Cat loves meeting patients and health professionals at a London hospital.

28 February 2024

Johanne Picken & Ness

PAT Dog Ness, a retired racing greyhound, works her animal magic on residents at a care home in Johnstone, Renfrewshire.

5 December 2023

Chris Roberts & Jimmy

Jimmy the greyhound is not the only PAT Dog at HMP YOI Parc – Gus and Doug spend time with prisoners too.

7 November 2023

Josie Hughes & Benjen

PAT Cat Benjen, a Maine Coon, is a big hit with the young people he meets at two CAMHS units in Northampton

25 October 2023

Sue Beeson & Boo

Pupils at a Kidderminster primary school love their visits from Boo — and Sue says volunteering helps her deal with dementia too.

6 September 2023

Roger Hammett & Kimmy

Roger and Kimmy visit University Hospital Southampton and also two secure mental health units for adult offenders.

9 August 2023

Maggie Fogarty & Bonnie

Maggie and nine-year-old Bonnie visit a care home in a scenic spot in Cornwall – and everyone loves the special Cockapoo.

18 July 2023

Rachel Williamson & Mona

A PAT Volunteer from Rothwell and her affectionate Staffordshire Bull terrier are regular visitors to a local primary school.

7 June 2023

Hannah Colbourn & Olive & Benji

A PAT Volunteer, who has owned four PAT Dogs, Hannah shares her story and pays tribute to Todd.

2 May 2023

Nick Belson & Ghillie

Nick and his dog Ghillie spread cheer among care home residents, who treasure their regular visits.

4 April 2023

Martin Rodker & Winnie

Martin and Winnie visit a residential care home near Luton, where one lady has written a poem about the special PAT Dog.

29 March 2023

Libby Bowles & Pip

Libby and her PAT Dog Pip enjoy making friends at school – when Pip isn't off having adventures and appearing on TV!

8 March 2023

Julia Saunders & Chilli, Bean & Ronnie

Julia takes one dog to a school, the other to a care home, and a third has passed its assessment.

21 February 2023

Keith Poultney & Bella

Keith and his black Labrador Bella are bringing joy to Ukrainian families who are currently living in the UK.

8 February 2023

Andy Price & Lola

Andy and his PAT Dog Lola are regular visitors to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, cheering up patients on the wards.

29 January 2023

Rachael Sones & Arlo

Rachael is an Assistant Voluntary Area Co-ordinator. Along with her dog Arlo, they make weekly visits to a school in Hampshire.