Wonder dog Obi has star quality on hospital ward
STAR Wars fever may be dying down in the movie world, but temperatures are still running high at Macclesfield hospital where Obi the dog is still bringing delight to his audiences.
Obi the golden retriever, who belongs to the ward’s senior sister Selena King, has started making weekly visits since he qualified as a therapy dog with the charity Pets as Therapy.
Thanks to Obi’s friendly temperament and easygoing nature, he provides dog-loving patients with companionship and physical interaction during their stay.
Selena was originally inspired by a Pets As Therapy (PAT) dog who used to visit a neighbouring ward and thought ward five’s orthopaedic trauma patients would particularly benefit from having a canine companion.
She said: “Some of our patients have a prolonged length of stay due to their injuries and may be missing pets at home. Others have dementia and respond very well to interaction with animals.
“I contacted Pets as Therapy and registered my interest at having a pet to visit but after a few months, they couldn’t provide one in this area.
“I had a chat with Obi and he said he was up for it so we registered to have him instead.”
Obi, who lives with Selena, her husband, their three children and a cat, is known for his extremely gentle nature, and a thorough assessment was carried out to confirm his suitability for the role.
And after being prodded and poked by a veterinary nurse, who also exposed him to loud noises and checked he was healthy, Obi was given the go ahead to make weekly visits to the hospital.
Selena added: “I always check with the patients before bringing him over but so far, no one has turned him away.
“We have a chat about their pets and Obi sits and has his ears rubbed or his head tickled.
“Patients can be very low in mood but when they speak to Obi and have a cuddle, they feel better, even if it’s only for a while.
“I think it helps to distract them from an otherwise long day and it can prompt people to talk when they were reluctant to do so before.
“Anyway, a cute, fluffy dog cheers anyone up and the staff benefit too.”
Ward five also recently introduced ‘afternoon tea’ for patients with dementia in order to enhance their stay at the hospital.
The orthopaedic trauma ward cares for patients recovering from bone and joint injuries.
●● Obi with his owner, ward senior sister Selena King, and sister Cathy Grist