Page last updated at 17:55 GMT, Friday, 4 December 2009

'Pets As Therapy' dog honoured at hospital ceremony

Zihana Thakrar and Cognac
Cognac has worked as a Pets As Therapy dog for five years

A border collie which visits hospital patients to assist their rehabilitation has been honoured by a hospital trust.

Cognac was recognised for his five-year Pets As Therapy (PAT) charity role by Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust at a long service ceremony.

The dog visits the hospital every week with his owner, Sue Cole.

Members of voluntary organisations such as the Friends of Southampton General Hospital also attended the event, where 55 other volunteers were commended.

Pets As Therapy, a national charity, was founded in 1983.

It aims to provide therapeutic visits to hospitals, hospices, nursing and care homes and special needs schools using volunteers and their own dogs and cats.

More than 23,000 PAT dogs have been registered into the scheme, according to the charity.

It said there were currently more than 4,500 PAT dogs and 108 cats working for the charity in the UK.

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