AFTER the death of his beloved uncle, devastated teenager Grant McIntosh found it difficult to cope.

The 16-year-old from Hillington struggled to talk about his feelings and when it seemed even therapy could not help, he felt he had nowhere to turn.

Then, his counsellor had a brainwave.

“Grant is quite a quiet young person and he found expressing himself difficult when he first came along to sessions,” says Janette McGarvey, Young Person’s Development Worker at the Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice.

“However, we got to know each other well enough and I discovered how close he is to his late uncle’s dog, Max.”

Janette smiles: “As the hospice is a dog-friendly environment, it made perfect sense for Grant to bring Max along with him. Max is almost like a comfort cushion for Grant and having him with him meant he could open up and talk to me about how he was feeling.”

The Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice is celebrating its first anniversary in its new state-of-the art home in Bellahouston Park.

Generous Evening Times readers fundraised tirelessly for six years to help raise the £21m needed for the project.

The hospice cares for patients and families dealing with life-limiting illnesses, providing person-centred support including palliative care services specifically designed for young people and their families.

Read more: Dad's heartbreaking hospice wish: "Keep me alive for one last Christmas"

It uses the Sengetun model of care, which offers patients quality of life in a place that looks and feels like home, with open spaces, family rooms and private areas, rather than a hospital.

Chief executive Rhona Baillie describes the goal as “where it may not be possible to add days to lives, we aim to add life to days”.

It looks after around 1200 patients every year, both as inpatients and in day services, where patients live in their own homes but come into the hospice for different therapies and treatments such as occupational therapy, rehabilitation and group sessions.

Grant’s uncle, Les Walker-Hall, died in February and the effect on his young nephew has been long-lasting.

“I came to the hospice’s Family Support Service following my uncle’s death,” he explains. “I felt sad and thought that I was the only one affected by this.

“I didn’t feel I could ask my mum about what had happened because I did not want to upset her and make her hurt even more. This felt difficult as I did not have all the details about what had happened.”

He adds: “I felt frustrated because I didn’t have the answers I was looking for and this made me feel more alone.

“The only person that was there and listening to me was Max. He was my uncle’s dog and came to live with me after my uncle died. Max missed him and he was a bit confused too.

“On my third support session I was told that I could bring Max along, and that really helped - he was like a comfort teddy. We also went for walks in the garden during the sessions.”

Read more: Terminally-ill man marries at Glasgow hospice

At the final session, Grant released two balloons from the top of the garden, in memory of his uncle.

“One for me and one for Max, with cards saying ‘goodbye’ attached,” he explains. “It felt important to do this, because it meant me - and Max – could finally say goodbye.”

Grant is grateful for all the support he received at the hospice.

“It has helped me feel more confident about asking my mum difficult questions,” he says.

“And now both me and my mum are able to talk about things more easily. I am glad I came along for support.”

Janette adds: “I am so proud of Grant and everything he has done since he came here.

“He has also inspired others – he was the first person to bring his dog along to this kind of support session, but now many more people want to do the same, and bring their much-loved dogs along for canine support.”

Neil Brown, who is from Arden, says the hospice has changed his outlook on life.

The 68-year-old was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2015 and the tumour has since spread to his leg and brain.

He has to take 26 tablets a day and uses a wheelchair as his mobility has been badly affected.

Neil explains: “I was suffering from depression as well as my physical symptoms. I couldn’t accept that I now had limitations on what I could do. At times I wouldn’t take my medication, and that ended up making me feel worse.

“I started coming to the hospice in March and my whole outlook has changed. Now, I feel positive.”

Neil has discovered a love of art.

“I am proud to have painted a picture of my rescue dog, Donnie, who bears a striking resemblance to Scooby Doo,” he laughs.

“I love the walking group. Being in a wheelchair has meant that I don’t get out as much as I used to, but one of the porters here comes with me to push my chair. “

Neil adds: “This means that I get out with everyone else around the stunning park and get some fresh air. I’d even go if it was snowing.”

Neil lives at home with his son, Derek and his partner Jill. He has daily carers and also receives a weekly befriending visit organised by hospice board member Hazel Tomkins, who volunteers for the service.

Christine Cummings, of Day Services at the hospice, says: “Neil has transformed from the man I first met in March. He has come on in leaps and bounds

“He is a real character and I am so happy that coming to the hospice has had such a positive effect on him.”

Don't miss Monday's Evening Times for a special feature on the PPWH Light Up a Life dedications.