“I love going in to the Day Hospice so much. I come home on a Friday evening feeling so uplifted.”

Suki, an eight-year-old German Shepherd, is one of St Giles’ slightly more unusual volunteers, who has been helping out for just over three years.

As a qualified ‘Pets As Therapy’ dog, you’ll find her in the Day Hospice every Friday afternoon keeping a watchful eye on patients – and their handbags!

The merest hint that a handbag is opening is the sign that there could be a treat in the offing…and Suki loves her treats! In return, she gives so much pleasure to patients that the staff at St Giles have a special treat cupboard just for her.

Suki’s owner, Elaine Foulkes, said: “I rescued Suki when she was 12 months old and straight away I knew she was a special dog.

“I’ve had dogs all my life, including other German Shepherds, but Suki was different. I can honestly say I’d trust her with anyone’s life.”

Elaine enrolled Suki on the Pets As Therapy 11-month training programme when she was about four years old, and following training, Suki was accepted straight away.

Elaine said: “It is so rewarding to see the impact she has on patients. She brightens their day and is showered with so much affection.

“Suki is slightly slimmer than normal at the moment because the Day Hospice is closed due to COVID-19 and so the treats at home are a little less plentiful!”

It’s not just Suki who is missing the weekly visit to the hospice. Elaine added: “I love going in to the Day Hospice so much. Everyone is so positive there and I come home on a Friday evening feeling so uplifted – it’s a treat for me too!”

If you’ve been inspired by Elaine and Suki’s story and would like to know more about volunteering at St Giles, you can book onto a volunteer open session here. Plus, you can reach the team on 01543 434546 or email volunteer@stgileshospice.com.