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Therapy dog at Frank Lloyd Unit in Sittingbourne up for Unsung Hero Award

By Lewis Dyson

Molly the therapy dog has been regularly volunteering at a specialist Sittingbourne care facility for three years.

The eight-year-old border collie is the object of many people’s affections at the Frank Lloyd Unit which supports older people with mental health problems and specialises in caring for those with dementia.

The Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust therapy dog has now been recognised for its hard work after being shortlisted for the national Unsung Hero Awards, an accolade designed to reward and celebrate non-clinical NHS staff and volunteers. It is organised by GoToJobBoard, a specialist recruitment company.

Sarah Wale, deputy ward manager with Molly the therapy dog at the Sittingbourne Memorial Hospital
Sarah Wale, deputy ward manager with Molly the therapy dog at the Sittingbourne Memorial Hospital

Molly is one of only three finalists in the Special Recognition category.

Owner Sarah Wale is a team leader on the Hearts Delight ward at the Frank Lloyd Unit, which is part of Sittingbourne Memorial Hospital in Bell Road.

The duo work together on late shifts from 2pm to 9pm, with Molly even attending staff handovers.

Sarah said: “I’m delighted that Molly’s contribution has been recognised by the Unsung Hero Awards.

“It is such a delight to see residents’ reactions when they see Molly and the lift in their mood is incredible.

Sarah Wale, deputy ward manager with Molly the therapy dog at the Sittingbourne Memorial Hospital
Sarah Wale, deputy ward manager with Molly the therapy dog at the Sittingbourne Memorial Hospital

“One of the wonderful things about Molly is that you don’t need to talk and many of our residents get real joy from just brushing or stroking her.

“Molly is a real character and gets involved with our parties at Christmas when she wears her reindeer antlers.

“We’re lucky to have her but equally Molly really enjoys her time with our residents and staff. Frank Lloyd is her second home.”

“We’re lucky to have her but equally Molly really enjoys her time with our residents and staff." - Sarah Wale

Dementia often causes difficulties with communication and can create feelings of isolation. Therapy dogs are used to provide affection and comfort to people in care homes and help counteract the loneliness.

Molly and Sarah will attend the awards event on February 23 in Manchester which will be opened by Andy Burnham, mayor of Greater Manchester.

The Special Recognition category winner will be decided by guests attending the event.

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