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Pet (and grandchildren / grandparents) prescriptions - they make some of the best therapists!




This is so true. My good friend Dominic

(Founding Chair of the UKASFP - the UK Solution Focus Community) strongly espouses that if the NHS could prescribe grandchildren and dogs that the world would be a much better place and we save a few (billion) bob!

Of course other pets are available - I’m shamelessly biased towards dogs. More on that later!

For Paediatrics perhaps the grandchildren might be turned around into grandparents - we can have different titles for grandparents - we all feel spoiled by them and they can be out overwhelmingly strongest cheerleaders. We can almost do no wrong in their eyes.

We should make the most of grandparents while we can - my Granda played sports with me and helped me ride a bike - my dad helped me first. Legend has it that he gave me my first bath - everyone else was too scared!

Sometimes slowly and sometimes quickly they can get older and frailer - make those memories while you can.

My Granda was born within a year of Captain (Sir) Tom Moore and they had a lot in common. His favourite phrase was ‘why worry?’ - everything would always be ok in the end! He had that same positive outlook. He was very musical and played the accordion and played it by ear. My sister inherited the musical gene - sadly I did not!. I loved choirs though and mimed through years in the school hour because I loved it and didn’t want to assault anyone’s ears!

I was almost 50 when he died and feel very lucky that I got so long.

My Granny was a dancer and performer. She was full of life and full of fun. I remember Christmases with singing and dancing. She was stunning beautiful with jet black hair and skin that tanned easily - I followed my Granda with the other Celtic skin with a hint of the red in the hair and frazzling at the mere hint of a ray of sun.

So, to the pets…

My 2, Bo (Mr Bojangles if you please - just try shouting that at the park!) and Ringo. Ringo was originally going to be Sergeant Pepper which had the same park shouting drawbacks as Mr Bojangles. He is black and white with a black obvious moustache so Ringo it was.

2 bothers from the same litter. I hadn’t had dogs before so it was a bit of winging it.

I went to meet Bo as he was the only brown one left. He wasn’t that interested in me (he follows me everywhere now!). Ringo came over and just wanted to be with me - he chose me so 2 dogs came home!

Everyone said whatever you dip don’t get 2 - it’s a disaster. Not for us it seems - they play together and support each other when I’m not there, They’ve always had each other. They couldn’t be more different (to be fair they couldn’t look more different either). Bo is daft and wily. Ringo is calm and loving and everyone comments that he has ‘knowing’ eyes. Truly if only Ringo could talk!

9 years later we’re all doing well!

They are therapy for me. You forget a hard day immediately when you see them and have to go out with them - forest bathing is real!

They also often come to therapy sessions. Partly because they are soft and snuggly and everyone just loves them. From my point of view they give a focus to the patient - something to look at and interact with that isn’t me! It’s much less intimidating and patients are much more able to open up.

I recently saw a patient who couldn’t sit still and was constantly fidgeting - cue Bo & Ringo and they immediately settled.

For families that aren’t so keen on dogs (or are allergic) they can chill in the log cabin or go visit their Granny and Grandad.

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