Skip to main content

Furry nice visitors at Cefn Coed

Jillian & Rylie

Routine for patients at a Swansea hospital was put on ‘paws’ to accommodate some special visitors.

Rylie and Noah, a border collie and mixed rescue dog from Romania, called in to meet those on dementia wards in Cefn Coed Hospital.

Jillian & Rylie Left: Patient Jillian Edwards pictured with pet therapy dog Rylie

The canine companions, and their owners, volunteer for Cariad Pet Therapy and had been invited along by the hospital’s occupational therapy team to boost their patients’ mental health.

Swansea Bay occupational therapist in older person’s mental health, Holleigh Bryan, said: “Part of occupational therapy is looking at using meaningful activities to boost the mood of our patients and to reduce their level of agitation. 

“We were hoping that through introducing pet therapy, it would reach some of our patients who are passionate about animals. To settle them and give them a bit of enjoyment.”

Holleigh said that the visit had been an undoubted success.

She said: “They responded fantastically. Some of ladies and gentlemen have issues with agitation and aggression, and become distressed, but to see them with beaming smiles the minute the dogs walked in was absolutely fantastic. 

“Some patients, who we don’t see engaged in any activities, were on the floor stroking the dogs, really enjoying themselves.

“We haven’t seen that level of enjoyment from them since they’ve been here.

“One of our ladies, who has been struggling with mobility, as soon as we mentioned that there was a dog in another room, got off the bed as quickly as she could and started walking to the day room.”

Holleigh wanted to thank everyone who was involved in the project and expressed the hope that it would become a regular occurrence.

Ros Burrows and her 11-year-old border collie Rylie, volunteer for Cariad.

She said: “We volunteer anywhere where they want us to come and do some pet therapy. We’re here to make people feel a little bit better about themselves.

“Dogs are shown to have a really positive effect on people’s mental health. So that’s what we do. We go along to bring smiles to people’s faces.”

Ros said that the dogs enjoyed the experience as much as the patients.

She said: “He absolutely loves it. It’s one of his favourite things to do. As soon as I get his bandana out his tail is wagging.”

Noah Sean O’Sullivan (right with Noah), who brought five-year-old Noah along, said: “You only have to look at the patients, the visit has woken up the room. It’s given them something to focus on.”

One patient, Jillian Edwards, said: “It was lovely meeting Rylie. I love dogs. I used to have them when I was little, years ago.”

And Jeff Martin, who was visiting his wife Jean, said: “I think it’s a good idea. My wife loves dogs. We’ve got one at home and she can’t wait to come out and see her.

“As soon as she saw the dog, it lifted her. Any animal and she cheers up, particularly dogs a sit reminds her of her father, who used to breed them.”

Rydym yn croesawu gohebiaeth a galwadau ffôn yn y Gymraeg neu'r Saesneg. Atebir gohebiaeth Gymraeg yn y Gymraeg, ac ni fydd hyn yn arwain at oedi. Mae’r dudalen hon ar gael yn Gymraeg drwy bwyso’r botwm ar y dde ar frig y dudalen.

We welcome correspondence and telephone calls in Welsh or English. Welsh language correspondence will be replied to in Welsh, and this will not lead to a delay. This page is available in Welsh by clicking ‘Cymraeg’ at the top right of this page.