A PINT-SIZED pooch has made canine history by becoming Dorset’s first chihuahua therapy dog.

Five-year-old Barbie, who is eight inches high and weighs just six pounds, more than makes up for her small stature by bringing joy to Poole hospital patients.

Her proud owner Kirsty Williams, 24, from Kinson, Bournemouth, said: “Barbie is remarkable. It’s almost unheard of to have a chihuahua as a working dog, let alone a therapy-trained dog.

“To qualify through Bournemouth’s Caring Canines charity she has to be able to reduce stress and anxiety. She’s also trained to provide affection and comfort to people in hospitals, retirement homes and schools.”

Kirsty has first-hand experience of Barbie’s skills. Five years ago she had to give up her job as a travel insurance agent after suffering from severe stress and anxiety.

She said: “Barbie was initially trained for my benefit.

“I used to struggle to carry out normal everyday tasks.

“Thanks to her I find it easier to cope because she brightens up my day and I can share her gifts with others.

“She may have been a rescue dog; we’ve had her since she was 12 weeks old. But the truth is that she really rescued me.

“We go to the stroke wards at Poole hospital. She’s just the right size to sit on patients’ beds.

“Their faces light up when Barbie arrives.

“We also visit needy families.

“Barbie has forced me to go out and meet people who are less fortunate than me – she is my little miracle worker.”