PAT Stories

Tim Robinson & Betsy

It is nice knowing residents still have the opportunity to have a dog in their lives through Betsy’s visits”

Tim Robinson from Beckenham, Kent, is a visiting volunteer along with his two-year-old cocker spaniel Betsy. “Her temperament is well suited as a PAT Dog,” Tim smiles. “Betsy is curious but gentle and a lover of all things and people. She can be cheeky at times, but she’s non-judgemental and takes all people as she finds them.”

The PAT Team, who have been volunteering since summer 2023, visit Peartree Care Home – Excelcare in Sydenham in South East London. “Both Betsy and I look forward to her ‘work day’, meeting residents within the home. For me, with a demanding job, I find the hours I spend volunteering to be both refreshingly different and remarkably rewarding. If just one resident smiles or their eyes light up on seeing Betsy, or they have a moment of connection with her, that visit has made a difference and hopefully we have brightened someone’s day.”

Loved by all
Tim says that Betsy now knows all the residents who like to see her and, likewise, many remember her name and immediately respond when the pair are invited into their room. “Many of the residents have shared stories of being dog owners themselves and it is nice knowing they still have the opportunity to have a dog in their lives through Betsy’s visits.”

A lady called Doris, a resident at Peartree, wrote Tim a lovely thank you note, and summed up so well the impact of Betsy’s visits. “Having a visit from a dear little dog called Betsy is really very enjoyable. I am usually afraid of dogs (resulting from a terrifying experience when I was young), but Betsy is gorgeous and I really love her visits. My son is surprised when I tell him I stroke and talk to a little dog, because of my nervousness over them. Quite an achievement!”

A lasting legacy
Tim reveals that the opportunity to commit to ongoing voluntary work arose as part of his decision to change employment and working hours, so he now has Fridays free. “I also chose to volunteer with Pets As Therapy in order to have a lasting positive legacy in memory of my parents, having tragically lost them both a few years ago. My mum and dad were lifelong dog lovers and owners and, as a family, we had support from various care providers and bereavement charities both before and after losing them. After much research and consideration, supporting PAT felt like a fitting choice.”


We are always looking to recruit more volunteers.

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