A East Lancashire Hospital Trust (ELHT) therapy dog, who brought joy to patients at Blackburn Hospital, has died.

Colleagues and patients are trying to come to terms with the devastating news after Jasper the cockapoo was put to sleep on Wednesday, April 5.

Jasper had been unwell for a few days and it was later discovered that he had a tumour.

Lancashire Telegraph: Jasper with hospital chaplain David AndersonJasper with hospital chaplain David Anderson (Image: ELHT)

Vets said he was not going to get better and to prevent further suffering the decision was made that the right and kindest thing was for Jasper to be put to sleep.

Jasper joined the ELHT in 2019 and made an unforgettable impact.

In those four short years he has touched the lives of so many patients and colleagues.

Walking the wards every week, not many people could pass by without a smile or saying hello.

He made a huge impression on everyone who was lucky enough to meet him. He was instrumental in providing care and support to colleagues and patients who needed it, bringing a playful energy wherever he went.

Before the pandemic Jasper visited patients undergoing end of life care, as well as those suffering a mental health crisis.

He has also worked with physiotherapists assisting patients affected by strokes, with patients encouraged to stroke Jasper as part of their therapy.

Lancashire Telegraph: Jasper the therapy dogJasper the therapy dog (Image: ELHT)

When COVID-19 hit, Blackburn was one of the worst affected areas in the country and Jasper was no longer able to visit the wards and initially had to stay at home, with David carrying out counselling sessions for end of life patients and goodbye calls for family members via Zoom

More than 1,000 people joined his ‘conversations with Jasper’, which resulted in the dog receiving a national award at the House of Lords in 2021.

In March 2020, Jasper was even named employee of the month for his hard work.

Chief executive of the hospitals trust, Kevin McGee, awarded Jasper the accolade due to the effect he has on patient and staff morale and his therapy work with stroke patients.

Lancashire Telegraph: Jasper with hospital chaplain David Anderson (middle) with a hospital patientJasper with hospital chaplain David Anderson (middle) with a hospital patient (Image: ELHT)

Martin Hodgson, chief executive at the ELHT, said: “Jasper was not just a member of our ELHT family, he was a much-loved family pet, so our thoughts are with our hospital chaplain, David Anderson, and his family as they come to terms with their loss.

Lancashire Telegraph: Jasper with ELHT staffJasper with ELHT staff (Image: ELHT)

He said: “I know many colleagues will be devastated by the news so we will make sure we take the opportunity to celebrate Jasper and give thanks for all that he did.

“He made such a difference to people’s lives and brought endless joy and love to everyone here at ELHT. He will never be forgotten.

“Our corridors will not be the same without his wagging tail.”