‘I knew dogs could make a difference to the children’s lives. I knew it the moment I watched a little boy, exhausted by pain and sickness, stretch out his hand to touch my dog’s paw, and then…he smiled.’
Lyndsey Uglow has endured and overcome mental health challenges and much personal pain, including her young son’s battle with Leukaemia. Lyndsey knows only too well the emotional rollercoaster experienced by parents supporting their children through critical illness, but she also knows just how much the company of dogs can alleviate just some of their worry and pain.
The healing bond with dogs that helped her, she now shares with others – in the shape of a dynasty of exceptional Golden Retrievers, including the incredible Leo. Since 2012, Lyndsey has made it possible for therapy dogs to visit more than 10,000 children, many critically ill, bringing smiles of simple joy and a sense of normality to lives ruled by pain, sadness and uncertainty in paediatric intensive care, cancer wards and palliative care.
Leo has also faced his own battles. After suffering a serious injury on a beach run, he was saved by a pioneering technique which restored him to full health for the sake of the children who were missing him so much.
This is Lyndsey and Leo’s story and how they have brought the extraordinary healing powers of dogs to others; while sharing the stories of just some of the thousands of children for whom a soft paw or wet nose has brought comfort, care, laughter and joy at the darkest of times.