Camilla charms poorly children and their canine helpers 

Thursday June 11, 2009

Showing her natural affinity for animals, the Duchess of Cornwall takes time to pet an assistance dog at Oxford hospice the Helen & Douglas House.

Assistance dogs like Roo - who belongs to 14-year-old Charlotte Walter, a spinal muscular atrophy patient who's been going to the hospice for more than ten years for respite care - help with practical tasks which can be difficult or impossible for a disabled person to do, like opening and closing doors, pressing a pedestrian crossing button and helping a person undress.

Camilla, the patron of the hospice since 2007, spent more than an hour chatting with children and young adults, many of whom were full of praise for their royal guest.  

"I thought she was very kind," said 11-year-old wheelchair user Dylan McDermott. "She came down to the right height so I could speak to her more easily.  

The Duchess has visited the centre once before and also invited hospice users to decorate the Clarence House Christmas tree on two occasions

Photo: © PA

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