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Junior brings a smile to the faces at Jigsaw

With a wag of his tail and the gentlest of nuzzles, Junior the cocker spaniel brings a smile to the faces of children and young adults at Jigsaw.

Junior is a regular visitor at the children’s hospice, with his owner Jacqui, much to the delight of the children, young adults, families and staff. Jacqui, an Activity Coordinator at Jigsaw, brings Junior to the children’s hospice two or three times a week and on occasions the visit Eden Valley Hospice too.

Jacqui explained,

“Junior went to a lady in Penrith who is an assessor. It is important that dogs don’t react around people and children, but he was perfect – he just sat there. They just love him at Jigsaw. He has his own PAT jacket which he wears so he knows when he is a going to work. He loves being fussed over.

“I wouldn’t take him to see someone who doesn’t love dogs or those who are scared. I had one child though who was nervous when we arrived but by the end of the two hours, he was walking Junior and giving him treats. Some people have limited mobility, but they love to stroke him and touch his ears. One lady in a wheelchair brushed his coat which was good for both. For those who have dogs at home, Junior brings some normality to their lives in the hospice.”

From our resident PAT dogs’ visits in Jigsaw and Eden Valley Hospice to our annual Christmas donkey visits, throughout the year we welcome a wide variety of animals to the hospice. Any animal visits to the hospice, especially from our patients pets, can provide enjoyment and comfort for everybody at the hospice.

Rachael Kegg, Jigsaw Team Leader:

‘’Junior is so very well behaved and gentle, the children and young people get so excited to see him – it really is a special treat. He adds fun to the day and seems to improve mood and reduce anxiety in the children and young people. They love to stroke his golden coat and cuddle into him and provides comfort just by being present, which enhances emotional wellbeing.’’