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Dogs Transforming Lives

Introducing ground-breaking research on the positive and vital impact of animal assisted interventions.


Dogs have a transformative role in society

Since its inception in 2012, Mayhew’s TheraPaws programme has promoted the emotional and mental health benefits derived from interacting with a dog, both during and after each session.

The music for our campaign video was generously composed by Lewis White.

Ground-breaking results

Through the evidence of high quality qualitative and quantitative research, Middlesex University researchers have now generated empirical evidence to demonstrate that animal assisted interventions have a transformative impact on participants involved in our TheraPaws programme.

Making care homes happier

Scientific evidence gathered by the researchers also proves that care home based animal therapy is proficient at:

• Reducing loneliness
• Improving mood
• Inspiring communication
• Bridging gaps and building better relationships between residents and their friends, family and carers; and
• Providing a general sense of community and companionship

Our executive summary

We have put together a short summary of the research that we undertook, including our recommendations for the development of animal assisted intervention programmes. We looked at:
• The impact of the Therapaws programme on care home residents overall wellbeing and quality of life
• The experiences of residents, volunteers, and their dogs of participating in the programme, the perceived benefits and adverse effects
• The experiences of care home staff of having TheraPaws visits in their places of work

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"He knows exactly what each person needs"

Cara, a TheraPaws volunteer, started visiting care homes with her dog Hugo in 2018. She says “The residents are always so pleased to see Hugo. They get so much pleasure out of his visits, stroking him and feeding him treats. If anybody wants a cuddle, Hugo goes up on their bed – he is a sensitive dog and knows exactly what each person needs. He curls up next to people to help calm them down if they are sad or in distress.”

"They cannot stop talking about the dogs"

Without exception, care home staff who took part in our research also described how the TheraPaws visits contributed to a noticeable positive uplift amongst residents, and seemed to generate a happier atmosphere within the whole care home. This lifting of mood even lasts for hours after the dogs leave. A resident who took part in our 12 week study said “I love this dog. He’s my best friend.”

One of the carers also added “These sessions are extremely dear to the residents. They want to do them over and over again, and they cannot stop talking about the dogs. Everyone laughs and smiles a lot when a dog is here.”

Share our findings

Please help us share our report on social media so that we can provide even more people with animal assisted therapy.

Want to find out more about our TheraPaws programme?

Visit our TheraPaws page to find out about our volunteers and where they work.

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