Pet is a tonic for the patients

ITV Weather Girl Phillipa Tomson with her Pets As Therapy dog Billy Boy during a visit to St Cuthbert's Hospice in Durham.  They are seen here with patient Beryl Colquhoun
ITV Weather Girl Phillipa Tomson with her Pets As Therapy dog Billy Boy during a visit to St Cuthbert's Hospice in Durham. They are seen here with patient Beryl Colquhoun
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A BIG-HEARTED dog is bringing joy to others in his new role.

Television presenter Philippa Tomson is the proud owner of Billy Boy, who has been officially named as a Pets As Therapy dog.

The two-year-old Tibetan Terrier’s success comes after he almost lost his life last Christmas Eve when he was involved in a collision with a car.

Billy, who lives in County Durham with Philippa, her partner and their other Tibetan Terrier, BG, suffered multiple injuries, but made a full recovery.

The dog’s first official visit as a Pets As Therapy dog was to St Cuthbert’s Hospice in Durham where he spent some one-to-one time with patients who benefited from his gentle temperament, unconditional attention and his love of a big cuddle.

Philippa, 34, said: “I’m over the moon to get Billy Boy approved as a Pets As Therapy dog. He brings so much joy into my life and that of my family so I hope he can bring some happiness to others.

“Billy will make a brilliant Pets As Therapy dog, not only because he is so calm and good-natured, but because all he ever wants is a big cuddle – qualities that are needed in his new role.

“It’s also extra special because we didn’t think he would pull through after his accident. The fact that he did was due to wonderful veterinary staff and members of the public who stopped to help him at the roadside. It seems only right that after making a full recovery Billy should help others in the way people helped him.” 

The television personality now plans to make regular visits to St Cuthbert’s Hospice and other charities so Billy Boy can bring some comfort to people with life-limiting illnesses.

Beryl Colquhoun, a day patient at the hospice, said: “Billy Boy is beautiful, he’s a star. It really cheered me up to have him visit.”

It is widely recognised that animals can boost the morale of people with life-limiting illnesses, bringing them a sense of home comfort and companionship. The Pets as Therapy charity started in 1983 and supplies 4,500 dogs to hospices, hospitals and residential homes across the country.

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