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

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