A hospital has been criticised for allowing a pregnant woman to take her Labrador onto a maternity ward to watch her give birth.
Staff reportedly said they were appalled that the dog, named Barney, was allowed into a delivery room - and that no special cleaning was undertaken following the visit.
NHS managers justified the unusual visitor saying that the dog was a certified 'therapy dog' and had a 'calming presence' during the two-hour birth.
According to reports the dog was allowed entry to the hospital after his owner submitted a form requesting he be allowed into the maternity ward.
Managers claimed Barney regularly visits wards to comfort patients in his role as a therapy dog.
One source quoted in newspaper reports said: "Nurses and doctors were appalled but someone at the hospital had given the woman permission so the dog stayed with her in the labour ward.
"This is the first time any of the hospital's maternity staff can remember such a thing happening. They're now worried that other women will be allowed to do the same because a precedent has been set.
"Like it or not, dogs are dirty animals - and hygiene is the main concern of staff."
Managers said a thorough cleaning was done following the birth and approval had been sought from infection control experts.
Sarah Windfeld, head of midwifery at the hospital told The Telegraph: "Barney is a certified Pets As Therapy dog and with his owner regularly attends to patients in hospital.
"His owner made the request to us for Barney to be present when she gave birth as a therapy dog, not as a pet.
"Having first sought the approval of our infection control experts, we agreed to Barney sitting nearby in the delivery room."Reuse content