Minnie the adorable miniature Shitzhu hit the wards in Blackpool to offer pet therapy to patients

Meet Minnie, the tiniest and furriest volunteer, who is helping bring a smile to patients in a Blackpool hospital.

Staff at The Harbour, an inpatient mental health unit on Windmill Rise, Blackpool run by Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust, have welcomed the five-year-old pet therapy dog to the team.

Minnie, a miniature Shitzhu, hits the wards as part of the newly launched #WoofWednesday initiative where she meets services users to relieve feelings of depression and encourage them to talk and take part in activities.

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Minnie the therapy dog is volunteering at The Harbour, Blackpool

Minnie’s owner, Lisa Whittle, is a Health and Wellbeing Occupational Health Assistant and has been working with her pooch to get her specially trained and qualified for her new role.

Lisa, said: “Minnie is the most amazing dog. I have Minnie’s mum as well and as soon as Minnie was born I knew there was something special about her and that she would make the perfect therapy dog.

“We’ve worked together so that she could pass her Pets Therapy Assessment – which she did with flying colours. Now we get to work together every Wednesday which is incredible.”

Animals have been found to bring a sense of homeliness and normality to people who are hospitalised and Minnie is already having a fantastic impact.

Outside Minnie’s working hours, she enjoys spending time with her family and going for walks and playing in her local park.

For more information on the Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust and the therapies it offers, please visit: https://www.lscft.nhs.uk/