Ambassadogs celebrity judging panel Image Sue Ryder

Healthcare charity, Sue Ryder, has partnered with Pets As Therapy to launch a nationwide search for the paw-fect canine companions to carry out important duties at the charity’s neurological care centres, hospices, and palliative care hubs across the UK.

And the charity is on the look-out for local dogs with Ambassadog pet-ential for Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice in Moggerhanger, Bedfordshire.

The fur-st of its kind competition will celebrate dogs that are changing lives across the UK. Eleven four-legged friends will be awarded the title of Ambassadog, working with Sue Ryder to spread love and support to those who need it most.

For people living with a terminal diagnosis, complex neurological condition or acquired brain injury, Sue Ryder believes that the unconditional love of a dog can provide companionship, relieve stress and bring joy.

Leigh Chapman, volunteer engagement lead at Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice, said:

“Pet therapy really is a fantastic way to reduce stress and bring happiness to our patients. It has been a really tough year for everybody. Throughout the pandemic, the few therapy dogs that we are working with have been unable to visit and our patients have really missed them, as have the Sue Ryder Doctors, Nurses, care and support staff.

“Now that we are able to start planning for the return of visitors, we wanted to put out a call to all local dog owners to nominate their furry friends in a bid to become one of Sue Ryder’s very first paw-some Ambassadogs.”

Selecting the next therapy pooch for each of Sue Ryder’s hospices and centres across the UK will be down to a panel of dog-loving celebrity judges. Including presenter Kaye Adams, actress Carley Stenson, TV presenter Richard Arnold and author Emily Dean. As well as expert judge, Matthew Robinson from Pets As Therapy and Heidi Travis, chief executive of Sue Ryder.

The four-legged recruits, and their owners will be expected to volunteer a minimum of two hours a month to visit Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice, to provide puppy love and furry cuddles with the hope of brightening the days of Sue Ryder’s patients and staff.

Each dog will be assessed to make sure they fit the Pets As Therapy temperament assessment and are sociable, friendly, calm and gentle enough to work with Sue Ryder’s patients.

Matthew Robinson, national volunteer and events manager at Pets As Therapy, said:

“Pets As Therapy has been visiting hospices for over 30 years and working closely, alongside Sue Ryder throughout this time.

“Therapeutic pet visits to people in hospices are so important, not only to bring comfort and joy – but to also to ease suffering. Being part of this project with Sue Ryder is such a great opportunity to introduce more people to Pets As Therapy and help another charity who has been such an important ally over the years. We are so excited to meet the Sue Ryder Ambassadogs.”

Richard Arnold, presenter and journalist, said:

“I am so chuffed to announce that I will be supporting Sue Ryder as a judge in its search for the charity’s first Ambassadogs. The work Sue Ryder does is so important, and we all know that pets can be great for our wellbeing. My dog, Clemmie, has certainly helped me through this past year. If you think your dog is heads and tails above the rest, please visit the Sue Ryder website.”

View the online job description to find out if your loyal companion has what it takes to be a Sue Ryder therapy dog.

Nominations must be in by Friday 28 May 2021.

Richard & Clemmie Image Sue Ryder