Preston therapy dog Jasper visits House of Lords to receive honour

Posted on - 14th October, 2021 - 12:57pm | Author - | Posted in - Charities, Health, Preston News, Proud Preston
Jasper and owner David Anderson Pic: PeterStevensPhotography/IFAW

Preston therapy dog Jasper the cockapoo has received an International Fund for Animal Welfare award.


Jasper, 6, and owner David Anderson visited the House of Lords on Tuesday 12 October, where they received recognition for supporting more than 9,000 staff across East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust hospitals.

Winning the IFAW Animal of the Year Award after helping NHS staff during the pandemic, Jasper was credited for his service tackling stress in NHS facilities.

Read more: Preston therapy dog to receive paw-fect award for his work to support people in hospitals 

Pre-pandemic, Jasper completed a 10-week training programme that saw him learn how to work in the hospital environment. David and Jasper then visited mental health and end-of-life-care patients and worked with physiotherapists to help stroke patients.

David said: “Jasper’s role has always been to make people smile and feel better. During the peak of the pandemic, when everyone was giving so much, sometimes staff just needed to have a cuddle with Jasper, have a cry and go back to the wards.

“There is no judgement with a dog, and staff can show their emotions with him, take him out for a walk, or just sit quietly with him and reflect. Traumatised staff feel they can’t always share all the thoughts and feelings of working in the pandemic with family members, but many find it easier to talk while stroking Jasper.”

Read more: The important role this Ashton girl plays with her foster siblings

During the pandemic, Jasper had to stay at home, so David conducted counselling sessions over Zoom.

But he was soon back on the wards, supporting NHS staff during the crisis through the ‘Conversations with Jasper’ sessions, which saw 1,000 staff participating.

Through his training, Jasper has learned to identify when people are crying or showing signs of distress and go to those in need so they can stroke him.

When he is not busy helping people, Jasper loves nothing more than walks with David and playing with toys donated by hospital staff.

See what’s happening near you by entering your postcode below or visit InYourArea

Read moreSee the latest Preston news and headlines

What are your thoughts on therapy dogs? Let us know in the comments below

Preston in pictures The Station, Preston. 1539Adelphi quarter , preston , 23.06.2022St Walburge's Church, preston 23.06.2022Lilly in full bloomFormer Tithebarn pub and Preston Bus StationHarris Museum and Art GalleryRed telephone boxesRed telephone box on Market Street View more Advertisement Subscribe to the newsletter

Sign up below to receive Blog Preston's weekly newsletter. It wings its way into inboxes every Sunday rounding up our best content from the last week and a look ahead to what's happening.

Advertisement News by location

Find news by location, select an area of your choice to be kept up to date with the latest goings on.

Advertisement Categories

Find news by category, select an category of your choice to be kept up to date with the latest goings on.