Hi, I’m Diana, and I’m raising money for the Lane Fox/Romeo Unit in memory of my therapy dog, Little Dorrit. We’ve been visiting patients regularly at St Thomas’ Hospital, where she worked as a therapy dog for the charity Pets as Therapy. Our work was cut short suddenly a few weeks ago, when on returning home after a happy and busy day, Dorrit was struck by a car and died soon afterwards.
Dorrit was first invited into the Lane Fox Unit, a high-dependency respiratory ward, six years ago when she was two years old. This was an adjustment for Dorrit, as up until that time she had not met people who had lost their mobility and many of whom had tracheotomies, feeding tubes, and oxygen. In fact it was an adjustment for both of us. We discovered that Dorrit had particular sensitivity towards those who were very unwell, with devastating diagnoses such as motor neurone disease, muscular dystrophy, Cerebellar ataxia and Guillaume Barre.
Dorrit always sensed the mood of the patients on whose bed she lay, many of whom were unable to stroke her, but could feel the warmth of her body beneath their hands. Because she was so small and light, she could perch on their pillow or anywhere on their upper body where they could see and feel her.
She became attached to many long-term patients and was often invited to visit them after they had gone home. She also attended the funerals of several patients. At one memorable funeral I was moved to see that the patient had asked for pictures of Dorrit to by displayed on a board and the vicar referred to her work in his address.
She was a happy, optimistic, loving animal, bold and strong-willed, gentle and playful and very hard working. She helped me to adjust to my own increasing age and was my constant companion and support. I want to give back to the patients who gave so much meaning to her life and mine. My aim is to raise £2000 to fund the essential purchase of audio and communication equipment to enhance the wellbeing and speed the recovery of long-term patients in these units.