Sue Ryder searches for their next Ambassadogs to help support patients

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

The Sue Ryder Ambassadog judges

The fur-st of its kind competition will celebrate dogs that are changing lives across the UK - with 11 four-legged friends being 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.

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 their nearest Sue Ryder hospice, palliative care hub or neurological care centre to provide puppy love and furry cuddles with the hope of brightening the days of Sue Ryder’s patients, residents 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. Find out more and apply to be an Ambassadog.

Kaye Adams, TV Personality and Presenter said: “I am delighted to be part of Sue Ryder’s wonderful campaign to help find new therapy dogs for their hospices and neurological centres across the UK. Sue Ryder hope their ‘Ambassadogs’ will bring a great deal of joy and comfort to patients going through some of the most difficult times of their lives, and so it’s really important that we find the best dogs for the job. I absolutely love dogs and know how much of a support they can be during tough times - my own little Cockapoo Bea makes me smile every day - and so I feel honoured to be judging the competition.”

Author of Everyone Died so I got a Dog, Emily Dean said: “My Shih Tzu, Raymond, has changed my life in ways I never thought possible. He knows instinctively when I need comfort and support and manages to lift my spirits when I need it most.

"That's why I'm supporting Sue Ryder's campaign to appoint a canine ambassador for each of the Sue Ryder hospices and neurological care centres across the UK. The charity has seen first-hand how visits from pet therapy dogs brighten people's day. 

"If you think your dog has what it takes to become an Ambassadog, please visit the Sue Ryder website to apply. I cannot wait to see everyone's pictures - may the best dogs win!"

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."

Carley Stenson, Actress, said: "I'm working with Sue Ryder to launch a nationwide competition to find the official furry faces of its hospices, palliative care hubs and neurological care centres across the UK.

"Dogs bring such joy and I can't imagine being without my Barney and Bailey. I am incredibly excited to be working with Sue Ryder to help highlight the benefits of regular visits from pets as therapy dogs to their patients.”

Kaye Adams, TV Personality and Presenter said: “I am delighted to be part of Sue Ryder’s wonderful campaign to help find new therapy dogs for their hospices and neurological centres across the UK. Sue Ryder hope their ‘Ambassadogs’ will bring a great deal of joy and comfort to patients going through some of the most difficult times of their lives, and so it’s really important that we find the best dogs for the job. I absolutely love dogs and know how much of a support they can be during tough times - my own little Cockapoo Bea makes me smile every day - and so I feel honoured to be judging the competition.”

Tina Parkinson, Volunteer Engagement Lead at Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall 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 and Nurses.

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

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!”                                                         

Apply to be a Sue Ryder Ambassadog

To find out if your loyal companion has what it takes to be a Sue Ryder therapy dog, view the job description online. Nominations must be entered by midnight on Friday 21 May 2021.