(Updated 7/9/01)

Pets As Therapy/ Pro Dogs

PETS AS Therapy are extremely lucky to have dozens of Voluntary Area Co-ordinators throughout the U.K. who do a wonderful and very valuable job. Their remit is to welcome new volunteers to the Charity, help volunteers to find establishments to visit and often accompany them on an initial visit. They also keep a record of every volunteer and visit establishments within their area and also a list of any establishments that are waiting for PAT dogs or cats to visit.

Pat dogs Joss and Robbie owned by retiring Pets As Therapy area co-ordinator Marjorie Crofts

Very often they organise fund raising and promotional events and if they are registered Pets As Therapy Temperament Assessors, then they also take this task on board too.

The Area Co-ordinator is often the first point of contact for new volunteers and the help Pets As Therapy receive from this fantastic group of people is very much appreciated by the charity. I recently attended a meeting, here in the North of England, where Area Co-ordinators from several regions got together to discuss their role within the charity. The enthusiasm at that meeting was a force to be reckoned with. It really did go to show that PAT volunteers not only love to visit in the Hospitals and Residential homes etc. but they also like to be involved in the charity in as many ways as possible.

The Wakefield area have, for many years had a very efficient co-ordinator, Marjorie Crofts. However, Marjorie has recently had to retire, although she is still continuing visits to several hospitals, homes and day centres with her PAT dogs Joss and Robbie. Marjorie's son Paul Clayton is one of our team of Temperament Assessors and his work with the charity is to continue. We offer huge thanks for all the years of service and a very long and happy retirement to Marjorie.

As I write this column I have just heard the very sad news of the death of the PAT Area Co-ordinator for south Oldham, Dave Thomas. Dave and his wife Heather, have been PAT volunteers for many years and for a long time Dave was the only Area Co-ordinator we had in the whole of the Greater Manchester area. David took the task in his stride and always with great enthusiasm. In later years we did manage to organise other co-ordinators within this area which meant that David's area was much more manageable. Always ready to promote the charity Dave was often out and about with his two PAT dogs Barney and Venn, either collecting or giving talks which were very much in demand. I always knew it was Dave on the telephone as soon as I heard him. He had, what I can only describe as a voice like dark brown velvet. David died after fighting his illness so bravely in the Royal Oldham Hospital, the establishment that he had visited with his PAT dogs for so many years. I understand that just hours before his death he was himself visited by PAT volunteers Ron & Shirley Davies and Mary Harrison, accompanied, of course, by their PAT dogs. Dave had contact with the charity that became such a huge part of his life, right to the end. He will be sadly missed by Pets As Therapy. Our hearts and our thoughts are with Heather at this sad time.

Maureen Hennis



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