Kiana - a big dog with a big heart
Last March, Cranford volunteer Gerry Morris started bringing her lovely Newfoundland dog Kiana to Cranford to visit hospice patients and families.
While Kiana is new to hospice work, she had worked for over two years as a ‘Pets as Therapy' dog in the UK, visiting bereaved children in a residential children's camp before immigrating to New Zealand with owners Gerry and Brett Morris last year. Kiana has mainly been meeting patients at the Hospice Day programme and in Cranford's inpatient unit.
“They all have a bit of a pat and ask questions about her,” says Gerry.
“Those who want to see her are very happy to. Often it can just be for a few minutes. One day when we were in the hospice there was a family waiting in Reception, and along came other family members. Soon there was a big group - and there was Kiana sitting in the middle like she was royalty.
“Kiana loves the world and everything in it. She loves people and she seems to be able to pick up on patients who are unwell. Sometimes having a dog with a patient breaks down a barrier,” says Gerry who sees herself as the facilitator in the process.
“The dog is the one who does the work. Patients often feel isolated and withdrawn and having a dog visit can benefit them hugely. What makes Kiana ideal for the role is her temperament. She is an exceptionally affectionate, well socialised and friendly dog,” says Gerry.
“It is a huge privilege to be able to visit patients and their families at this stage in their life. It is about making a difference, no matter how small,” says Gerry.