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Zak’s dogged help pleases members

BORDER collie Zak brought some four-legged help to Bognor Regis sight loss group members.


Six-year-old Zak was taken along to the latest monthly meeting of the town’s Macular Society support group by his owner, Derick Wild, in his role as a member of Pets As Therapy.


Derick said: “Zak provides tactile support to patients in hospitals and residents in homes. It’s been medically proven that stroking a pet, whether that’s a cat or a dog, helps people want to get better sooner, if they can.”


Derick takes Zak into Bognor Regis War Memorial Hospital every Thursday where he is a popular visitor on Leslie Smith ward for two hours.


“He is always pleased to see people,” said Derick.


Zak’s presence was one of the highlights of the support group’s session at the 4Sight Vision Support premises in Victoria Drive.


The meeting was led by Mandy Whitman, a senior sight loss advisor for the charity.


She is based at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester and sees about 20 patients a month after they have been diagnosed with sight loss. Many more phone calls and emails arrive from other patients.


“I help a lot of people who come to me to register as partially sighted or severely sight impaired.


“That opens a lot of doors for them. I put them in touch with organisations which can also help them with support and equipment.


“Some of those who visit me know they had an eye problem but, for others, the diagnosis is a complete shock.


“A lot of them are worried about what the future might hold, particularly if they are on their own,” she said.


The group meets on the seond Thursday monthly at the 4Sight Vision Support premises.

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