Announcing our first paw-fect Ambassadog winners

In partnership with Pets As Therapy, the fur-bulous Ambassasdogs will carry out important duties at each of Sue Ryder’s neurological care centres, hospices, and palliative care hubs across the UK. The four-legged friends awarded the title of Ambassadog, will work 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.

The winners were selected by 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. 

Heidi Travis, Chief Executive at Sue Ryder, said:

“Congratulations to the winners of our Ambassadog search! Pet therapy is a fantastic way to reduce stress and bring happiness to the people that use our end of life and neurological care services. We are all extremely excited to be able to welcome back our new Ambassadogs once the government announces that it is safe to do so."

Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice’s winner - Eleanor Monks and her dog, Buddy

Buddy, Manorlands Hospice's new Ambassadog

“Buddy is already a volunteer at Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice. He enjoys being with service users, either sitting on their knee or if they wish, lying on their bed. He puts a smile on the hard working staff faces, as well as the really ill patients. He will lay quietly on the floor for children to cuddle him, and he was so loved by one patient that the family requested he be at the funeral where he sat at the front of the chapel.”

Sue Ryder Neurological Care Centre Dee View Court’s winner - Jon Turnbull and his dog, Eva

Image of Sue Ryder's Ambassadog winners, Eva (a cocker spaniel) and her owner, John

“Eva, my 3 year old Cocker Spaniel and I, are regular visitors (recently on zoom!) to DVC. Eva gets a very warm welcome from staff and residents alike, as she rolls over to have her tummy tickled. We join the Recreational Therapy Sessions where I lift her for the Residents to see and stroke, or she sits on peoples lap while I read them a story.”

Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice’s winner - Debra Ellison and her dog, Mabel

Image of Mabel, a winner of Sue Ryder's Ambassadog competition, in front of the Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence

“In 2019, Mabel and I started to visit Sue Ryder St John's Hospice where we became regular visitors, supporting patients, their families as well as staff and volunteers from receptionists to doctors, nurses, cleaners and helpers. Mabel is a friendly fur ball of happiness with a waggy tail.”

Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice’s winner - Rosie Darby and her dog, Millie

Image of Millie, a black labrador, one of the winners of Sue Ryder's Ambassadog competition

“Millie, 4 has been a PAT dog at Thorpe Hall for 3 years. She immediately engages with staff, patients and families, bringing comfort, joy and normality in end of life care. She is a welcome distraction and at their request has accompanied children to play with them outside! One lady close to death asked Millie to get on her bed so she could stroke her fur, she remarked that this is the best medicine.”

Sue Ryder Neurological Care Centre Stagenhoe’s winner – Mary Wilson and her dog, Mungo

Image of Mungo, a Goldern Retriever, who is a Pets As Therapy dog and winner of Sue Ryder's Ambassaog competition

“Mungo is a 7-year-old Golden Retriever. She loves meeting people, treats and cuddles, although not always in that order. Mungo has been a therapy visitor for five years. She usually works in the gym helping with neurological rehabilitation or visiting patients on the ward. Her visits comfort patients who may be missing their own dogs and helps with anxiety.”

Sue Ryder Neurological Care Centre The Chantry’s winner – Maria Correia and her dog, Ruby

Image of Ruby, a Pug, who is one of the winners of Sue Ryder's Ambassadog competition

“Ruby is a 3 year old Pug. She would make a great Ambassadog because she is very sociable and gentle with everyone. Her wrinkly face and curled tail says all, so charming. Here at Sue Ryder Neurological Care Centre The Chantry, everyone knows Ruby, she is fond of every resident, Ruby is very intuitive and sensitive with them. She also spends a lot of time napping.”

Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice’s winner - Alison Dunthorne and her dog, Rusty

Image of Rusty lying on the grass next to a tennis ball, a winner of Sue Ryder's Ambassadog competition

“Gentle in nature, she loves socialising with people and children. People think she resembles a teddy bear- she loves cuddles and sitting on laps, but readily engages with play. Before retirement from my medical post I worked at Sue Ryder for 20 years and am a Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent volunteer.”

More winners to be announced soon

Each Ambassadog has been 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. Each owner of the Ambassadogs is DBS checked and undertakes volunteer training before visiting a Sue Ryder service.  

Still to be announced - the Ambassadog winners for Sue Ryder Neurological Care Centre Lancashire, Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice and Sue Ryder South Oxfordshire Palliative Care Hub whilst our humans go through Sue Ryder volunteer training, but our paw-fect friends will appear here soon! 

Read more about this first group of winners on the Daily Mail website.

Interested in volunteering?

As a volunteer with Sue Ryder you’ll have the opportunity to feel connected, kickstart your career, share your skills and help your local community. We have a wide range of roles available across the UK in our shops, hospices, neurological centres and online. 

Find out more about joining our team by visiting our current volunteering opportunities.