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She knew dogs could make a difference to children’s lives when she saw a little boy, exhausted by pain and sickness, stretch out his hand to touch her dog’s paw and smile.

Lyndsey Uglow (pictured), Lead Therapy Dog Handler at Southampton Children’s Hospital, has seen her work grow by leaps and bounds.

She leads a team of 4 handlers and 7 dogs, a dynasty of exceptional Golden Retrievers. The therapy dogs cover all paediatric wards and since 2012, they have visited more than 10,000 children, mainly critically ill, bringing smiles of simple joy and sense of normality to lives ruled by pain, sadness and uncertainty.

The dedicated team of dogs and handlers won the Inspirational Animal Hero Award at the Animal Star Awards, for their hospital therapy work.

Lyndsey says: “Our work ranges from regular meet and greet style visiting to animal assisted intervention where we partner with one of the healthcare team to achieve an objective tailored to a particular patient.”

Lyndsey has written a book Leo & Friends – the extraordinary dogs with the healing touch, a fascinating insight into their work.