Joy for youngsters as police pups pay hospital visit

New police pups Otto and Karma visit the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh

Young people at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children enjoyed some wuff justice this week.

They were been treated to a visit from Police Scotland’s newest four-legged recruits.

German Shepherds, Otto and Karma, were named by children in the hospital thanks to the Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity (ECHC).

The two dogs visited the hospital’s Drop in Centre yesterday (Wednesday) to give the youngsters an opportunity to meet them and learn more about their training and what they do.

Inspector Leigh McManus, of the Dog and Mounted Unit, said: ‘We’re very grateful to the children at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children for picking the names of our latest recruits, and Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity for facilitating this.

‘Otto and his sister Karma are the second duo to be named by the children with two Springer Spaniel brothers, Sully and Banjo, named in October 2017.

‘The German Shepherds, who were bred in South Wales, are just over four months old now and are currently training to be general purpose dogs.’
The Drop in Centre, which is funded by ECHC, has helped to transform the experiences of children for more than 10 years so that they can be a child first and a patient second.

Canines and company, at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children

It is set to be renamed The Hub once the hospital moves to its new location in Little France.

The Hub is a unique, free youth work, child and family support service which provides support to those who are facing stress, worry or difficult times due to being in hospital. The service offers a range of services, including peer support programmes and youth groups while also offering complementary therapies for relaxation.

It will complement the ECHC Arts Programme, which provides a host of activities for children undergoing treatment. These activities range from performances from dance and theatre groups to interactive displays and events for the young people to try out.

Daniel Rutherford, ECHC Hub manager, said: ‘We had a great time welcoming Otto and Karma to the centre. I know everyone was extremely excited to meet them.

‘It can be a really difficult time when a loved one is in hospital, especially a child. We aim to provide a haven away from the wards where young people and families can offload any worries in a friendly, relaxed environment.

‘It’s the little things like the visit from the new police dogs that can help to relieve the stress of being in hospital and keep young people and parents smiling.’

You can follow @PolScotDogs on Twitter for regular updates on their progress.

For more information on ECHC and The Hub’s services, click HERE.