Pug Al­fie is a tonic for young pa­tients

Stockport Express - - News - AN­DREW STU­ART

THE world through Al­fie’s eyes is a very pos­i­tive one in­deed.

That’s be­cause he’s a ther­apy pug - and it’s his job to bring a smile to poorly chil­dren’s faces.

Ev­ery­one who sees him says ‘aww’ and gives him a pet and a cud­dle - and you can’t blame them.

His owner is Suzy Ems­den, who works as a pae­di­atric in­ten­sive care con­sul­tant.

But in her spare time, she vol­un­teers with Pets as Ther­apy to take Al­fie to wards at Step­ping Hill in Stock­port, Royal Manch­ester Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal, Wythen­shawe Hos­pi­tal, and the Manch­ester Royal In­fir­mary.

He vis­ited the Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal be­fore Christ­mas to bring some fes­tive cheer to the wards, but it’s not just a Christ­mas thing - he does this all year round.

Al­fie, un­sur­pris­ingly, is a ma­jor a hit on so­cial me­dia too - his In­sta­gram ac­count has 110,000 loyal fol­low­ers, and his pic­tures and videos con­sis­tently get thou­sands of likes from all over the world.

He show­cases his job as a ther­apy dog - and also his home life, where he en­joys dress­ing up, and play­ing with his sib­lings, a cat called Cheese and a kit­ten called Rosie.

Miss Ems­den, speak­ing pre­vi­ously about Al­fie’s im­pact on poorly chil­dren, said: “Their faces are so happy be­cause they just don’t ex­pect to see a dog in a hos­pi­tal en­vi­ron­ment.

“As one of the older chil­dren said he likes Al­fie be­cause he doesn’t ask him any ques­tions, he just comes and gives him a cud­dle and doesn’t want any­thing back and I think that’s what makes a big dif­fer­ence.

“The other thing is that Al­fie doesn’t see dis­abil­ity or ill­ness, he just sees a per­son and goes up for a hug and he’s not both­ered by drips or ban­dages or beeps and things like that as he’s used to all the noises and he’ll just go and snug­gle in and have a cud­dle with any­one.”

●●Al­fie, the ther­apy pug, who is a big hit with hos­pi­tal pa­tients and staff.

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