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
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