Three dogs from The Mayhew Animal Home’s TheraPaws pet therapy programme recently visited people with dementia at an outreach event with Alzheimer’s Society.
Our volunteers Deborah Taffler and her dog Noodle, Carol Bolland and her dog Shadow, and Bill Thorpe and his dog Tess, all spent time with people living with dementia and their relatives at Alzheimer’s Society’s dementia café at Father O’Callaghan Centre in Brent, North London, a friendly meeting place for anyone affected by memory loss and dementia.
The programme recognises the benefits of animals engaging with older people, particularly with dementia, encouraging social interaction to promote emotional and physical wellbeing. And our TheraPaws dogs were definitely in their element as they were awarded with cuddles from their delighted admirers.
Alan Newman, who regularly attends Alzheimer’s Society’s dementia café, says: “I think TheraPaws is brilliant, I’d already heard of the programme as they used to visit my late wife.”
“It’s so good to see the dogs interacting with people, and it gets them talking about their childhood pets. I even adopted a black cat called Sooty from The Mayhew a few years ago.”
Our volunteers and their dogs go on regular visits to care homes, day centres, hospices and hospitals across 11 different London boroughs including Brent and Westminster. And with currently 75 volunteers and 50 dogs devoting their time, our TheraPaws visiting pet therapy programme is continuing to grow.
Adrian Pennington from Alzheimer’s Society, says: “We are so grateful to charities like The Mayhew for their free service. TheraPaws is a great initiative and it’s wonderful to see people’s reactions when the dogs first enter the room.”
Luke Berman, Project Manager, TheraPaws, says: “It was great to work with Alzheimer’s Society, a fantastic charity helping people with dementia. As we walked in people immediately stopped talking and looked at the animals.”
“Some people have had to give their pets up so our dogs bring a lot of joy and wellbeing to people. It was a terrific day getting to know so many different people.”
To find out more about TheraPaws, then please visit www.themayhew.org/therapaws or call 020 8962 8000
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