Alder Hey Hospital’s therapy dog Holly has been promoted to ‘cuddle manager’

"We think Holly very much deserves this promotion."

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 17th December 2021

Alder Hey’s very-own therapy dog has earned herself a well-deserved promotion after four years of important service.

Holly the therapy dog – a five-year-old yellow Labrador Retriever – first began going to the Liverpool-based children’s hospital to provide “an incredible voluntary service” all the way back in 2017, and would pay visits a couple of times a week so give lots of love and cuddles to all the kids during their stay.

Holly visits the hospital with her owner Barry – a registered Therapy Dog Handler – who describes her as “an equal opportunity cuddle pot”.

She helps all the young patients “relax and feel less anxious”.

Just by visiting and through her presence on the wards at the hospital, Holly is able to bring a sense of joy and important distraction at difficult times for the children and their families – and of course, “all the staff love her too”.


But now, after four years of incredible service, Holly has been promoted from the hospital’s resident therapy dog, to the new ‘Cuddle Manager’.

Sharing the brilliant news of Holly’s promotion, Alder Hey wrote on its social media platforms this week: “Our gorgeous Holly has been promoted to ‘Cuddle Manager’.


“As well as providing cuddles, comfort and lots of love at Alder Hey for many years, Holly also sometimes helps in providing distraction techniques when children and young people are undergoing invasive procedures.

“She also works with physios and play specialists to get children and young people moving after surgery.

“We think Holly very much deserves this promotion.”

Holly the therapy dog first began visiting Alder Hey Children’s Hospital a couple of times a week in 2017 / Credit: Facebook – Alder Hey

Explaining a little more about Holly’s responsibilities, Alder Hey said back in 2018: “Holly is a friendly face to patients who are here with us for extended periods of time and may be missing their own pets at home, and is particularly useful for autistic children who often bond with and relate better to therapy animals than humans.

“Holly also works with young people with cynophobia (a debilitating fear of dogs) through Alder Hey’s CAMHS team, and is proud to have a 100% success rate.”

“The best thing about bringing Holly to Alder Hey is the look on people’s faces,” Holly’s owner Brian admits.

“There was a little girl in a wheelchair in the Atrium who became very excited and animated when she saw Holly. The little girl couldn’t easily hug Holly, so Holly came to her – sitting with her on the seat of her wheelchair, Holly rested her head on her shoulder so that the little one could have a cuddle.

“I can tell you, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.”


We have to agree – there certainly could not be a more important promotion.

Featured Image – (Facebook – Alder Hey)