12 September 2023
Blast from the past: four decades of visits from Bernese Mountain dogs
Leslie has been bringing his Bernese Mountain dogs to the hospice since 1985
Since 1985, Leslie has been bringing his Bernese Mountain dogs to the hospice. The friendly giants have been ever present, from the early days of the children’s day centre to the development of our Centre for Awareness and Response to End of Life (CARE).
One of them, Dusty, even featured in our Oral History Project with this photo from many years ago where he was pulling children in a cart. While he’s no longer with us, Leslie’s fifth Bernese Mountain dog, also called Dusty, continues the work of his namesake.
The therapy dog visits the hospice once a week and particularly enjoys venturing up to the wards, spreading joy along the way.
“It’s heartwarming to see people smile, even when they are unwell,” says Leslie. “Dusty’s greetings never fail to bring a smile to their faces.”
Leslie originally got Dusty  as a puppy for his late wife, who received care from St Christopher’s. “The hospice truly lifted her spirits,” reflects Leslie.
Therapy dogs like Dusty play a vital role in providing emotional support and enhancing the wellbeing of those they visit. Their presence helps alleviate stress, anxiety, and feelings of loneliness.
We’re delighted to welcome them when we can!
:::: This story was from our Autumn/Winter 2023 issue of Connect magazine. To read the full magazine, or to sign up to receive future editions, please click here. To find out more about our The Voices That Shaped Us oral history exhibition, click here.
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