Could St Cross’ Rocco be named top dog?

A four-legged friend to patients at the Hospital of St Cross is in the running to be named Pets as Therapy Dog of the Year at next year’s Crufts.

Rocco, a ten-year-old chocolate Labrador, works as a Pets As Therapy (PAT) dog, visiting patients in Mulberry and Hoskyn Wards once a week with his owners Hilary and Steve Farndon.

His sterling work providing comfort to patients undergoing rehabilitation has led to him being shortlisted amongst five other canines to be named PAT Dog of the Year.

The winner will be decided by public vote and will be announced in the main arena at Crufts in March 2017.

Pets are not normally allowed into hospital, except for guide dogs or registered therapy dogs like Rocco. Before he could visit the hospital, Rocco needed to take an assessment which showed he had the right temperament to meet patients, visitors and staff. Steve and Hilary have also registered as volunteers at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust.

Staff at the hospital ensure that full infection control procedures are followed throughout, and Rocco is not able to visit those areas where patients are particularly unwell.

Hilary said:
“Rocco has really enjoyed his visits to the Hospital of St Cross and we’re so proud of him.

“To help him get shortlisted, the Trust wrote a lovely note about how his visits are helping people, and it was so moving to hear that our volunteering’s making a difference.

“We’d love for people across Rugby, Coventry and Warwickshire to vote for Rocco for PAT Dog of the Year.”

Chris Seddon, Modern Matron at UHCW NHS Trust, said:
“We’re so proud of Rocco for being shortlisted for PAT Dog of the Year.

“Since Hilary and Steve registered as volunteers 10 months ago, the patients and staff on the wards have really looked forward to their regular doggy visitor.

“Many of our patients miss their own pets while they’re in hospital, or can no longer have them due to ill health. Rocco enjoys all the fuss, putting them at ease, and reducing their stress levels, as well as providing a welcome distraction.

“We’ll be encouraging everyone in the Trust to vote for Rocco, but he’s already a winner in our eyes.”

More information about Rocco is available in this fortnight’s edition of Yours Magazine (out 11 October).

Vote for Rocco at:  (voting closes 31 December 2016)