Children in the Palmerston North Hospital are treated to pet therapy, and last week it was Clyde and Edda's turn to turn on the canine charm.

Canine Friends, a voluntary organisation where owners and their pets visit the Children's Ward, was given the tick by MidCentral DHB and the dogs have been regular weekly visitors for six months.

Chris Partridge of Canine Friends was at the Children's Ward with 11-year-old Clyde.

"The dogs have to be washed and groomed before the visit," said Chris.

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Clyde's coat was freshly shampooed and his coat was fluffy and soft, ideal for petting by the sick children.

Clinical Nurse Specialist Child Health Robbie Lane said the canine visits settled the children, especially if they were going into theatre.

A lot of children had not been around dogs but the pet therapy was a win-win for the children and families.

Chris said the visits were started by Wellington woman Eileen Curry 25 years ago when her friend went into a rest home.

Canine Friends says pet therapy works on many levels to make unwell people feel reconnected to the world.

They report that health research in New Zealand and overseas shows clearly many people show great improvement in their health and attitude through interaction with visiting animals.

"Many people benefit greatly from the natural affection that most dogs have for humans especially the elderly and those who are unwell."

Canine Friends is a voluntary organisation with 600 dogs nationwide that visit the sick and elderly.

www.caninefriends.org.nz