A Doncaster hospital ward has a new fur-iendly visitor

A local health trust’s new volunteer is fitting in purr-fectly and becoming a fur-miliar sight to patients.

By Barbara Craythorn
Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 12:55 pm
Darcie with owner Jane and Tracy Forster
Darcie with owner Jane and Tracy Forster

Darcie the four-year-old Ragdoll cat is making regular visits to Windermere Ward on Doncaster’s Tickhill Road Hospital site, where her fur-iendly purr-sonality helps lift the spirits of those ‘feline’ a bit low.

Tracy Forster, Windermere’s Clinical Lead Occupational Therapist, said: “Our patients have complex mental health issues and dementia and the minute Darcie arrives their faces light up. Many have had pets before, so stroking and petting her helps to keep them relaxed and she is happy to be passed around.”

Darcie is one of six Ragdolls owned by Jane Curtis, who has forged links with the 20-bed Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust ward through the Pets as Therapy (PAT) charity, which arranges therapeutic visits to hospitals, care homes, schools and other places.

Darcie is one of six Ragdolls owned by Jane Curtis

Jane said: “Darcie and I enjoy our PAT visits, if we can give a bit of pleasure to someone, that is our work done. Darcie is very professional about her work, she has a different personality when she visits and knows what to do, whether that is snuggling up beside someone on a chair, or sitting on a lap or bed being stroked.

“She takes her role very seriously, even refusing her favourite treats when out visiting.”

Darcie is filling the gap created by the retirement of Windermere’s former pets, four-year-old guinea pigs Delboy and Rodney, who are now living out their days with ward nurse Hazel Smith.

And what does Darcie think of her paw-sitive new role? So fur so good, we think.