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To mark National Volunteers’ Week, we are teaming up with St Giles Hospice to tell the stories of some of those who give up their time to help the charity.
Suki, an eight-year-old German Shepherd, is one of St Giles Hospice’s slightly more unusual volunteers, who has been helping out for just over three years.
As a qualified Pets As Therapy dog, she can be found in the day hospice every Friday afternoon keeping a watchful eye on patients – and their belongings.
A handbag opening is the sign that there could be a treat in the offing – and in return, she is more than happy to spend time with patients and staff.
Suki’s owner, Elaine Foulkes, said:
“I rescued Suki when she was 12 months old and straight away I knew she was a special dog.
“I’ve had dogs all my life, including other German Shepherds, but Suki was different.
“I can honestly say I’d trust her with anyone’s life.”Elaine Foulkes
Elaine enrolled Suki on the Pets As Therapy 11-month training programme when she was about four years old.
“It is so rewarding to see the impact she has on patients – she brightens their day and is showered with so much affection.
“Suki is slightly slimmer than normal at the moment because the day hospice is closed due to COVID-19 and so the treats at home are a little less plentiful!”Elaine Foulkes
Like Suki, Elaine is currently missing their weekly visit to the hospice, which has had to be postponed due to the coronavirus lockdown.
“I love going in so much. Everyone is so positive there and I come home on a Friday evening feeling so uplifted – it’s a treat for me too.”Elaine Foulkes
For more details on how to volunteer visit the St Giles Hospice website.