We were greeted with some very positive news over the past couple of days, as it was announced that patients at Mater Dei will be able to get visits from their pets! Definitely a step forward in providing solace to those who are encountering some troubled times with their health. Apart from the happiness of one being embraced by his pet during a time which may not be at all pleasant, pet therapy is proven to have several benefits.
A cabin for pets, including both an indoor and outdoor area, is expected to be built on the hospital grounds in the coming months. This will allow patients to enjoy some time with their pets.
This project is partly thanks to the creative input of Sarah Cachia, a mother who had a son who was hospital-bound and could not have his dog visit him. This project is being implemented in collaboration with JCI Malta, a youth organisation.
The story of Sarah and her son is heartbreaking. It makes you wonder why this project was not undertaken at an earlier stage! Sarah Cachia expresses that it was painful for her as a mother that she could not accommodate her son’s wish to spend time with the family dog at the hospital. The boy could not see the family dog as pets were not allowed to enter the hospital. The mother pleaded with the hospital staff to see if there could be a possible room within the hospital for the young boy to spend time with the family dog. Unfortunately, there was no room and area within the hospital and the boy was constrained to meeting the dog at the cold main entrance of Mater Dei.
As one would expect, both the boy and the dog were overjoyed to see each other! Sarah Cachia highlights that this was a moment of true happiness which led to tears of joy. She also emphasised that her son was more at risk of getting worse because of the cold and passers-by rather than the actual dog.
This project also has the support of the government as Chris Fearne has committed a sum of four thousand five hundred Euro whilst the Cachia family managed to get an extra four thousand via donations. Although the money collected is indeed encouraging, more donations are required to ensure that this project comes into fruition.
In this regard, an initiative in the form of a dog walk is being held on the 11th of May, starting from Jacob’s Brew in Marsaskala. All dog owners are kindly requested to donate five Euro per dog and will be given a hot beverage, cake and dog treats.