The lives of South Derbyshire youngsters at Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People has been brightened up by a new, and rather unusual new staff member – and it was love at first sight. Or you could say, puppy love.
Toni the golden retriever has been introduced to the hospice, in Lark Rise, Loughborough, for youngsters with life-limiting conditions and is already putting smiles on faces.
Bringing Toni onto the team was the idea of Lynne DeMelo, clinical nurse specialist in palliative care, who has a wealth of experience at the hospice gained across the last 17 years.
Toni, a 12-month-old breeding pooch, has come from Guide Dogs for the Blind and has a future role of producing puppies to become guide dogs.
Lynne said: "The calming effect of animals in a care setting is well-documented and can be very therapeutic. We have a beautifully trained dog with a wonderful temperament, who lights up faces. Sometimes the sense of normality for families of seeing and interacting with a dog can be significant."
The move is already brightening the lives of children and young people at the Loughborough-based hospice charity.
Rainbows Hospice covers the whole of the East Midlands including Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Rutland and north Northamptonshire.
It cares for life-limited children and their families to ensure they make the most out of the precious time they have left.