Canine Therapy at Lakeside

Canine therapy is supporting patients both socially and emotionally during sessions at Lakeside. Delilah is a Dogue de Bordeaux, who along with her handler Lisa, visits Lakeside Hospital weekly. The hospital supports people with mental health needs, learning disabilities and autism in a specialist therapeutic in-patient environment.

Offered as part of the programme of Occupational Therapy at Lakeside, canine therapy sessions were first requested through the hospital’s Patient Forum and since their introduction two months ago, have proved to be both popular and hugely beneficial.

James Chisholm, Occupational Therapist at Lakeside, said: “Everyone very much looks forward to Delilah’s visits. Depending on the needs of the people she is supporting at the time, her time can be either spent very quietly and meditatively as someone enjoys simply stroking her and being calm, while for others it is a chance to enjoy more high energy play and engagement.

“Dogs offer no social barriers or pressures so if someone does want to sit quietly and just enjoy being near Delilah, there’s no pressure for them to talk. That in itself is hugely therapeutic and beneficial. Dogs are also non-judgemental so people feel they can just be ‘themselves’ around them.

“Dogs are also generally very happy to see all people and aren’t afraid to show it. That is very rewarding for all of us!

“It’s a good chance for people to learn too that appearances can be deceiving. Delilah is a very big dog but she is so soft and gentle. Some people have a real fear of dogs but when they have spent time with her they see it is a positive experience. The sessions are very relaxed and informal and they’ve been a huge hit.”

For more information about Lakeside or to make a referral, please call 0333 240 7770 or email You can also make a referral by completing our online referral form by clicking here.


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