Millie announced as paw-fect Ambassadog for Peterborough hospice

A four year old Labrador from Cambridgeshire has been named ‘top dog’ in a national competition run by healthcare charity Sue Ryder in partnership with the Pets as Therapy organisation.

By Andy Hubbert
Saturday, 10th July 2021, 12:00 pm
Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice's Ambassadog Millie. EMN-210807-155015001
Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice's Ambassadog Millie. EMN-210807-155015001

Millie, who is owned by 74 year old Rosie Darby from just outside Huntingdon, was selected as a winner in Sue Ryder’s ‘Ambassadog’ search and will now become the official Ambassadog for Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice in Peterborough.

She will be one of 10 Ambassasdogs who will carry out important duties at each of Sue Ryder’s neurological care centres, hospices, and palliative care hubs across the UK.

Each Ambassadog will work with Sue Ryder to spread love and support to those who need it most. For people living with a terminal diagnosis, complex neurological condition or acquired brain injury, Sue Ryder believes that the unconditional love of a dog can provide companionship, relieve stress and bring joy.

Before the coronavirus outbreak, Rosie and Millie had been regularly visiting staff and patients at Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice. Rosie said: “The patients really enjoy seeing Millie, especially those who have pets themselves.

“Millie enjoys the attention and going into the hospice. Rita, the receptionist, has treats in her bag for her and Millie skates around the desk to find them. The ward clerk, Jude, also keeps some special treats in a drawer for her but she tells Mille that she has work to do first before she has them!

“Mille loves the company and patients love meeting her. Quite often patients will tell me how calming it is to be with Millie. I have received such lovely cards and letters during our time volunteering at the hospice, and I find them so moving. We are both really looking forward to getting back into the hospice and supporting people – it really is the most wonderful place.”

All the Ambassadog winners were selected by a panel of dog-loving celebrity judges, including presenter Kaye Adams, actress Carley Stenson, TV presenter Richard Arnold and author Emily Dean, as well as expert judge, Matthew Robinson from Pets As Therapy and Heidi Travis, Chief Executive of Sue Ryder.

Heidi Travis said: “Pet therapy is a fantastic way to reduce stress and bring happiness to the people that use our end of life and neurological care services. We are all extremely excited to be able to welcome back our new Ambassadogs once the government announces that it is safe to do so.”

Each Ambassadog has been assessed to make sure they fit the Pets As Therapy temperament assessment and are sociable, friendly, calm and gentle enough to work with Sue Ryder’s patients. Each owner of the Ambassadogs is DBS checked and undertakes volunteer training before visiting a Sue Ryder service.

Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice is the only specialist palliative care inpatient unit in Peterborough.

They provide expert palliative care and support for people who are living with life-limiting conditions across Peterborough and the surrounding region, as well as supporting their loved ones.

The team includes doctors, nurses, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, complementary therapy, bereavement counsellors, and psychological and spiritual support.

They also offer a variety of other services, including a Hospice at Home service for people who prefer to receive palliative care at home, family and bereavement support, complementary therapies and spiritual care.

Staff and volunteers provide people with the compassion and expert care they need, to help them live the best life they can.

To find out more about volunteering with Sue Ryder, visit