Gentle canines are proving to be a great hit with residents at Sanctuary Care homes in Weston-super-Mare and Yarnton, Oxfordshire during National Pet Month (April).
Four-legged friend in Weston-super-Mare
A fourteen month old Puggle – a cross between a Pug and a Beagle – has been the star of the show at Beach Lawns Residential and Nursing Home.
Narla, who belongs to the home’s activities leader Clare Griffiths, has proved very popular at the Beach Road home, where residents often fuss and play with the young pup on her visits, as well as teaching her a few new tricks – from rolling over to ‘paw’.
Clare said: “The residents absolutely love Narla and it is such a joy to see her with them.
“Some of our residents owned dogs before they moved here so she also gives them a wonderful sense of continuity and comfort.”
Resident Lillian Simmons added: “Narla is such a sweet little dog – I love her, I always ask if I can buy her!”
Pets As Therapy in Yarnton
Meanwhile in Yarnton, Pets As Therapy (PAT) dog Hamish has been highlighting the therapeutic value of animals for people of all ages by visiting residents and the team at Yarnton Residential and Nursing Home in Rutten Lane.
The Golden Labrador, who visits with his PAT handler Becky, has proved so popular that he will continue his visits to the Sanctuary Care home every week.
Becca Tudor-Price, activities leader, said: “Every week they ask if he is coming in and really look forward to his visits – Hamish is a real highlight within the home.
“The therapeutic value of animals is undeniable and they find stroking him so relaxing.”
Resident Joan Stops added: “I love Hamish – I like to feed him treats.”
Fellow resident Joyce Dempsey said: “I really enjoy Hamish, I always look forward to him visiting and can’t wait for next week.”
Interacting with companion animals is becoming increasingly recognised as a therapeutic intervention and is supported by the World Health Organisation.
Animals are considered to be a great source of comfort, companionship and motivation. Among other benefits, stroking them can reduce blood pressure, have a calming effect on the mind, promote relaxation and ease stress and anxiety.