Harley and owner Lesley have been visiting Kilbryde Hospice for almost a year now and in that time they have very much become part of the Kilbryde family. They are volunteers but in actual fact Lesley and Harley say they receive so much more in return from staff and patients alike. “The genuine joy when Harley enters the day services sitting room is palpable. To watch her go in turn to each person and give a lick, a wag of her tail, and often a full blown two pawed cuddle and to then see the response from patients is often overwhelming.
The interaction between Harley and the patients (and staff) cannot be underestimated. It can have a calming, stimulating or animating effect on the group experience and often people who would not normally consider themselves as ‘doggy people’ will find themselves coming round to the unconditional love doled out by Harley. It truly is a symbiotic relationship from which everyone benefits. Every week we are warmly welcomed by both staff and patients; in fact, it’s not so much staff, patients and volunteers it’s a gathering of friends and like minded people who care about one another and who want to share their invaluable life experiences and observations
Then there is the one to one experience of the ward which is positively humbling. I am often moved to tears by the obvious delight and solace garnered from having Harley pop up at the side of a bed to give a gentle lick and look and a wag of the tail.
The word hospice would to many suggest sadness and gloom but Kilbryde is one of the warmest, most joyous, upbeat places I have ever had the pleasure to spend time. The laughter is constant, the good humour and enjoyment totally unforced; it is in short, a haven for all. ”