Vote for St Cross’ Rocco to be crowned Crufts top dog

Rocco with patient Josephine Murphy.
Rocco with patient Josephine Murphy.
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A dog who visits poorly patients at Rugby’s St Cross hospital is in the running to be named ‘Pets as Therapy Dog of the Year’ at Crufts.

Rocco, a 10-year-old chocolate Labrador, is a Pets As Therapy (PAT) dog.

Rocco with Hilary, Steve and staff on Mulberry Ward.

Rocco with Hilary, Steve and staff on Mulberry Ward.

He visits patients in Mulberry and Hoskyn wards once a week with his owners Hilary and Steve Farndon.

Rocco is not able to visit areas where patients are particularly unwell but he provides comfort to patients undergoing rehabilitation at the hospital and has been shortlisted for the award alongside five other canines.

The winner will be decided by public vote, with the results being announced in the main arena at Crufts in March of next year - and people in Rugby are being asked to support him by voting.

Owner Hilary said: “Rocco has really enjoyed his visits to the Hospital of St Cross and we’re so proud of him. To help him get shortlisted, the hospital trust wrote a lovely note about how his visits are helping people, and it was so moving to hear that our volunteering’s making a difference.”

Rocco with owner Hilary.

Rocco with owner Hilary.

Chris Seddon, modern matron at the University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, also voiced her support for Rocco.

She said: “Since Hilary and Steve registered as volunteers 10 months ago, the patients and staff on the wards have really looked forward to their regular doggy visitor.

“Many of our patients miss their own pets while they’re in hospital, or can no longer have them due to ill health. Rocco enjoys all the fuss, putting them at ease, and reducing their stress levels, as well as providing a welcome distraction.

“We’ll be encouraging everyone in the trust to vote for Rocco, but he’s already a winner in our eyes.”

To cast your vote for Rocco, visit: www.yours.co.uk/PATDogs

Voting closes on Saturday, December 31.