North East Wales

Glan Clwyd cancer therapy dog winning own disease fight

Charlie with patients at the centre
Image caption Charlie with Keith and Jen Lloyd at the cancer centre

A therapy dog used to help patients going through cancer treatment has a poignant twist to his tale after he had seven months of chemotherapy himself.

Charlie, a Border collie, makes weekly visits to the North Wales Cancer Centre at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd as part of the Pets As Therapy (PAT) scheme.

His owner Jane Howatson said patients were able to empathise with him when they heard his story.

Charlie was diagnosed with cancer of the lymph nodes in August 2012.

He is one of 41 PAT dogs and one cat who work across north Wales as therapy for humans visiting hospitals, hospices, homes and schools.

Mascot

Ms Howatson, from Llansannan, said: "Happily Charlie is in remission at present, he loves coming here to meet the patients and they enjoy seeing him too.

"He comes here and you can see he is concentrating all the time, working in his own little way when he sees the patients.

"When patients stroke Charlie and find out what he has been through, you do see a sense of empathy from both.

"We come here every Thursday and it's nice as Charlie gets to see the same people who are going through regular treatment and it's nice for him and them to get familiar with each other.

Image caption Charlie is one of 41 PAT dogs, and one cat, who work across north Wales

"I'm so proud that he is doing this for these patients as they have taken to him so well."

Charlie has been adopted as the honorary mascot for the centre's staff.

Two of the people he visits regularly at Bodelwyddan are Keith and Jen Lloyd.

Mrs Lloyd said: "He's lovely, he is a really relaxing dog. It's lovely to see him here."

Staff have also welcomed Charlie into their midst due to his inspirational support.

Carmel Barnett, acting radiotherapy services manager, said: "He lights up the reception every time he comes in on a Thursday as he's such a friendly happy dog with a wonderful inspirational tale that lifts everyone who meets him."

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