A lovable Boxer was named Therapet of the Year as part of the Canine Concern Scotland Trust 27th annual awards, after spending his year giving back
Bruce, owned by Patricia McMahon of Bellshill, Glasgow, is a regular face in Coathill Hospital, Wishaw General Hospital and Beckford Lodge secure unit in Hamilton where he volunteers as a therapet.
Therapets visit places including hospitals, prisons and care homes to boost health, ease loneliness and improve communication for residents.
Bruce, who will be ten years-old on his next birthday, was introduced to the scheme by James McDonald, a trustee for Canine Concern.
His lovable nature made him the ideal candidate, Patricia says. “He just loves everyone, the postman, bin men. He loves to be made a fuss of.”
During his visits Bruce is kept on the lead and is there to tend to what the person they are visiting wants.
“When we visit the dementia unit, a lot of the patients aren’t very active so he just sits beside them. It helps them initiate conversations about previous pets they’ve had, which is great. ”
Bruce is also popular with kids, including Patricia’s four grandsons, although he’s a big Boxer so some can be a bit standoffish.
“The men in the secure unit love that he’s a big dog” Patricia adds.
Both Bruce and Patricia attended the annual award ceremony of Canine Concern Scotland Trust, which was held at the Kaim Park Hotel in Bathgate where he was given his award.
Bruce was nominated by staff in Ward 3 of Wishaw General Hospital, The Glen Orchy and Glen Nevis Ward of Coathill Hospital in Coatbridge and the Dementia Club in Ward 10 of Wishaw General Hospital.
Patricia said: “I was really happy when he won. It was quite emotional. Everybody thinks their dog is the best but it’s different when everyone else thinks your dogs the best!”
Bruce was first registered as a Therapet in May 2013 and has proved to be highly adaptable and reliable.
It’s been a busy few years for him as he also managed to squeeze in visits to numerous Paws Against Stress events in Glasgow and made an appearance at the “Time to Shine” event in Glasgow where he worked with disadvantaged children.
Among the commendations on the nomination form was one from Coathill hospital which read: “Bruce has been visiting Glen Orchy and Glen Nevis Ward for approximately three years. The patients look forward to him visiting the ward. He’s very patient and friendly, enjoying staff and patients petting him and making him welcome in the ward. Bruce has a good temperament, he brings comfort and companionship to the patients, he is calm and he brings happiness to the ward environment.”