Christchurch Hospital worker knits toy dogs to comfort children

Radiographic assistant Henny van Veen has been knitting toy dogs for children having ultrasounds...
Radiographic assistant Henny van Veen has been knitting toy dogs for children having ultrasounds at Christchurch Hospital to help them calm their nerves. ​Photo: Supplied
For Henny van Veen, knitting toy dogs is a labour of love that has been bringing joy and calm to children having ultrasounds at Christchurch Hospital.

Knitted by the radiographic assistant, the toys are given to some of the hospital’s child patients, aged between four and 10, to help them overcome their fears.

For some children, an ultrasound is a traumatic experience and receiving a cuddly toy at the end of it makes it a bit better, van Veen said.

“We only get happy faces if we give them a dog or one of the little knitted teddies from chaplaincy service,” she said.

Van Veen has made “just about every breed of dog you can name.” Photo: Supplied
Van Veen has made “just about every breed of dog you can name.” Photo: Supplied
Van Veen was inspired to start knitting about 18 months ago after seeing the small teddies around the hospital.

“I have never done it before in my life and learned how by watching YouTube.”

She usually knits in the evening while listening to music or watching television, “just to keep my hands busy.”

It takes her four weeks to finish a dog, as she only knits for about an hour a day.

“And a lot of dogs are not to my liking once finished so I make another one.”

A poodle she she has knitted. Photo: Supplied
A poodle she she has knitted. Photo: Supplied
The patterns come from library books or the internet, and van Veen has made “just about every breed of dog you can name.”

Breeds she has knitted include corgi, poodle, german shepherd, jack russell, miniature schnauzer, pug and border collie.

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