Canine companions bring joy to care home residents
FURRY friends have been helping care home residents with dementia by providing company and cuddles.
Lindsey Dixon and her dog Shadow visit The Oaks Care Home, Blyth, twice a week.
Lindsey, who is from Blyth, is a volunteer with North East based friendship dogs charity, Wag and Company.
They enable visiting dog teams to build meaningful new friendships with older dog lovers.
Ann Mielnik, Home manager at The Oaks, said: “Our residents love to see Shadow visiting and the smiles on their faces just say it all.
“Volunteers with just a small amount of spare time each week work with their own pets to bring joy and comfort to many individuals who appreciate being able to touch and stroke a friendly animal.
“Thousands of people of all ages benefit every week in residential homes like ours, as well as hospitals, hospices, schools and day care centres.”
PAT (Pets in Therapy) dogs provide companionship and friendship to help tackle loneliness. They also support those with mental and physical health conditions such as autism, dementia and strokes as part of their therapeutic treatment.
Volunteer Lindsay and Shadow, a Siberian Husky, have been visiting The Oaks for two years. She said: “I was a bit sceptical at first as I wasn’t sure it would go down well with people.
“However, if Shadow and I can make just one person’s day better than we’ve had a good day.
“I’m so proud of Shadow. I can do anything with him and the residents particularly love his gorgeous soft fur.”
Resident Jena Mills said: “I love dogs and I had some of my own throughout my life. Shadow’s visits are lovely because he reminds of them. I really look forward to seeing him each week.”
You can find out more about volunteering with your pet at www.petsastherapy.org.