Here at City Hospice, we provide lots of different services to help our patients and their families through difficult times, from nursing support, to counselling, to complementary therapies and our Day Centre. 

Our Day Centre happens every Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, with our patients coming along for a cup of tea, a chat with other guests and our clinical team, and to be entertained. Our fantastic volunteers are always coming up with something enjoyable for our Day Centre visitors to do. Whether it's singing, watching performances from a local amateur dramatics society or taking part in arts and crafts, we can help our visitors have enjoyable afternoons with us.

Something which always goes down well is a visit from Therapy Dogs Nationwide. The charity's volunteers visit places such as hospices, schools, hospitals, nursing homes, special care schools and prisons. The dogs bring comfort and calm to people in a safe space and help to alleviate symptoms that come with anxiety and depression. Dogs can come in all shapes and sizes, pedigree or mongrel, it's the temperament of the dog that is important.

Mac and Holly are 14 & 11 year old black & yellow rescued Labradors who have been assessed as therapy dogs. Mac has attended Crufts previously as a volunteer on the charities stand!


(Labradors Holly and Mac. Photograph courtesy of Julie Ann Williams)

Their owner and trainer, Julie, takes them to a hospital once a week to meet patients and staff and she also brings these lovely dogs to City Hospice twice a month to see our patients.

Five years ago, City Hospice cared for Julie's Mum when she had cancer. Julie would bring in Mac and Holly when picking her up and saw how our visitors loved seeing them. A year later she started bringing them along for regular visits.

Julie really enjoys being a part of a network of volunteers helping people through the means of Therapy Dogs Nationwide. She said, "Mac and I started visiting a school on the 'Paws & Read' scheme about six years ago, where Mac would 'listen' to children reading aloud to him. Requests started coming in from other organisations and Holly finally managed to pass her assessment. It took her a little while longer because she was an abused rescue dog but you wouldn't know that today as her tail never stops wagging during visits!

(Julie with Holly and Mac at City Hospice)

The best thing about volunteering with Mac and Holly is seeing the pleasure other people get when we arrive. To walk into the room and be greeted with smiles, you can't beat it! However, there is one problem with volunteering with dogs, as all Therapy Dog Nationwide volunteers know, the people we visit all know the dogs' names but the volunteers themselves are 'the person who comes with them!'

We know, first hand, of the amazing work that Julie, Mac and Holly do in helping people across Cardiff who need them. We’re hoping that they’ll be joining us at our 5k sponsored dog walk, Wag This Way, so walkers get to meet this inspirational team for themselves.

To find out more about Therapy Dogs Nationwide, visit their website here: http://www.therapydogsnationwide.org/newwebsite/

If you’d like to join us for our Wag This Way event on Sunday 24th March, please click here to find out more.

On behalf of everyone at City Hospice, a huge thank you to Julie, Mac and Holly for bringing joy and comfort into the hospice and to our patients.