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21st Aug 2023

Belfast hospice have hired a therapy dog to bring comfort to patients

Katy Thornton

She will “play an important part” when it comes to wellbeing services.

Sandi, a gorgeous golden retriever, has become a therapy dog for Belfast hospice Marie Curie on Knock Road. She comes from the NI charity Therapy Dog, and is accompanied by her handler Alistair King, who set up the organisation. 

Image via Facebook / Marie Curie Hospice 

The hospice took to Facebook last month to announce their new hire:

“We are delighted to introduce you to our newest volunteer – say hello to the gorgeous Sandi!

“Sandi is a Therapy Dog NI who will play an important part of the wellbeing services for patients and their loved ones at the hospice. Sandi and her handler Alistair had a busy first shift meeting patients and staff and we’re already looking forward to them making regular visits.”

Sandi takes over from her mother Rosie, who was also a therapy dog. 

In conversation with The Independent, King said this of his organisation, and of Sandi’s role as a therapy dog.

“We’re a self-supporting organisation that provides visits to nursing homes, schools, special schools, the hospice, the Marie Curie hospice now, free of charge.

“My wife and I are both partially retired civil servants, so we’ve got a bit of time on our hands, and it’s very rewarding to do the visits and take Sandi to see the people.

“It’s lovely to see, Sandi can sort of communicate with people, she’s got a knack of just looking people straight in the eye and giving them her paw and a hug.”

Sandi is definitely in the running for employee of the month.

Header images via Facebook / Marie Curie Hospice Belfast 


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