Family begged Wollongong Hospital staff to allow a visit from pet dog Tilly. They said yes

Colin Woodford and Tilly are reunited outside Wollongong Hospital. Photos: supplied
Colin Woodford and Tilly are reunited outside Wollongong Hospital. Photos: supplied

Colin Woodford, battling a severe lung infection, feared he may never see his beloved dog Tilly again.

That's when his niece Amber Hawkins stepped in, pleaded with Wollongong Hospital staff to allow a visit from man's best friend. And over the weekend, they delivered.

Nursing staff and wardsman Don Ryman helped 81-year-old Mr Woodford down to the front of the hospital for a special visit.

Kellie Thomas, one of the Shellharbour man's four daughters, said it will be some weeks before he gets discharged, and the visit made his day.

"Dad's been in hospital since before Australia Day battling a severe lung infection - it's really knocked him around and there was a time when it was thought he wouldn't survive but he's pulled through," she said.

"Mum and us girls are on a roster to visit him but he really wanted to see his dog too, he thought he'd never make it home to see her again.

"He teared up when he saw her and she jumped straight onto his lap to kiss him. He said it made his day."

Ms Thomas said the simple gesture had meant so much to the family, during a stressful time.

"The staff at the hospital go above and beyond for people," she said. "I'd really like to thank them."

On a social media post Mr Ryman, a wardsman for more than 25 years, said he'd been glad to play his part and praised the nurses for granting the family's wishes.

"The little dog went off when he seen the old boy," he said. "One of the best things I've seen in my long time at the hospital."