At Home With Lorraine Kelly 2017 - 275
FA M I L Y L I F E ▲
and those of all denominations
in hospital coping with a serious
childhood illnesses. Their pet therapy
service is part of a range of emotional,
practical and therapeutic support
services, and Herbie is one of 11 dogs
who visit families with their owners.
'Charlotte was diagnosed at just
18 months old. She had chemotherapy,
followed by an operation to remove
the tumour. Then she had a stem
ce trans ant radiothera y and na y
immunotherapy. For almost two years,
Charlotte's treatment meant she was
in hospital for long periods of time.
'We had to be incredibly careful to
isolate her from any risk of germs,
so there was no way she could have
gone anywhere near a dog, let alone
'FOR CHARLOTTE TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY
TO PLAY WITH A DOG ONCE SHE HAD FINISHED
HER TREATMENT WAS WONDERFUL'
'Rosie is always
WORDS: SUZANNE BAUM, IMAGES: GETTY IMAGES
LISA UNCLES, 41,
ROSIE HELPS HER
'Rosie joined our family two years ago,
when she was two years old. She is an
assistance dog and was provided by
the charity Dogs for Good,' says Lisa,
who lives in Leicester.
'She is so much more than a pet
- she's a permanent carer for my son,
Oliver, who has Duchenne muscular
dystrophy, an incurable condition that
gradually wastes the muscles.
iver rea y bene ts ro
help - she has turned his life around
because she helps him with all sorts
of everyday tasks, and he knows he
can rely on her. She is always by his
side, picking up anything he drops,
helping him to undress and even
taking his shoes to him.
'Oliver was too scared to sleep alone
downstairs, because he couldn't get
up if he needed me in the night. But
when Rosie slept with him, he was
able to relax and go to bed without
me by his side.
'Rosie also collects Oliver's clothes
in the mornings, which makes getting
ready so much easier.'
love of a dog.
A dog is a
friend for life.'
NATALIE ELIAS, 43,
VISITS MEAN TO
'Herbie has brought fun and
normality back into our home
a er y our-year-o d daughter
Charlotte, underwent a long and
di cu t treat ent or a high-risk
neuroblastoma,' explains Natalie,
who lives in north London.
'He's a miniature schnauzer and
is owned by Alex, who brings him
to play with my children each week.
They are part of a scheme called
Paws for Fun, which is run by Camp
Simcha, a charity that supports
families in the Jewish community
have one in the house to pet and
cuddle. So, for Charlotte to have the
opportunity to enjoy and play with
a dog once she had nished her
treatment was just wonderful. It
gave her so much joy just to stroke
and play with Herbie.
'For me, it has been really lovely
watching her act like a normal child
a er everything she has been through.
Seeing her excited face every time
Herbie came was amazing.
'For so long, there was no normality
in our home and my middle child,
en i now eight was rea y affected
by this. e suffers ro a ot o anxiety
now, worrying about things that a
child his age just shouldn't think
about. Herbie's visits really help to
calm him - for that hour, Benji gets
to be a normal kid having fun with
a dog. Herbie's visits have been just
as important for him as they have
been for Charlotte.
'It's been wonderful to see the
difference that erbie has ade
to both our children. Herbie and
Alex bring pure joy and life into the
house. Even my eldest son, Joshua,
who is 11, likes to join in the fun.
'They are very welcome visitors
- we get all the pleasure of a dog,
without the responsibility. It's been
really therapeutic for all of us.'
www.athomemagazine.co.uk AUGUST 2017 | 275