Christmas animals brought a smile to the children’s ward at Yeovil Hospital’s this week.

Patients, relatives and staff enjoyed a visit from Dasher the reindeer and Alaska the snow dog as the hospital begins the festive celebrations.

Arriving on level 10 in the lift, this was the first time the team had ventured beyond our regular visiting dogs and miniature pony when it comes to animals on the ward.

Sarah Sutton from Somerset Reindeer Ranch in Chilthorne Domer said: “I have 11 reindeer on the ranch and they have visited care homes and groups, or people come and visit us, but this is our first time in the hospital. Dasher was with me as a baby and I bottle-fed him so he is very used to people. Then we have Alaska our pure bred Samoyed dog and she is great at keeping the reindeer in check as well as loving the attention from children and adults alike, so he joined Dasher on the children’s ward.”

The visit caused much excitement and disbelief from patients and staff, with many commenting they had never seen a real reindeer before. Arranged by Paediatric team Play Lead Leanne Braund, Dasher and Alaska made quite an impression. Leanne said: “It is always great to bring a variety of experiences into the hospital and this was certainly a memorable one. It is particularly important for the families who are with us for a while to bring these lighter moments. It really makes such a difference and seeing everyone smiling and laughing was fantastic.”

The trust will be continuing to get into the Christmas spirit as the month progresses with decoration competitions, carol services, visiting singers, festive meals and more.

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