TheraPaws recognises the benefits of taking animals into the care setting to engage with the elderly.
We specialise in visits to people with dementia and to palliative care centres. Our volunteers and their dogs go on regular visits to care homes, day centres, hospices and hospitals across North and West London.
Here we find out a little more about a TheraPaws team, volunteers Flick Thorley, Charles Frydman and Janice Lakey, who take Max, Wally and Lulu to St Luke’s Hospice to visit patients near end of life and people receiving ongoing treatment for incurable diseases.
What attracted you to TheraPaws?
F –I was donating dog beds to Mayhew’s reception when I was told about the programme and it sounded fantastic – I was always interested in animal therapy and this was local to me.
C – When I stopped working in the caring profession I missed the contact. I love animals so when I heard about the programme I decided it was just right for me.
J – I started three years ago after BBC London shared a piece about TheraPaws on TV, and as an animal lover who can’t have a pet it’s perfect for me.
Do you remember your first visit?
F- I wasn’t sure what to expect and didn’t know how the dogs would react, but they were fantastic and each of them was brilliant in their own unique way.
C – It was an incredible experience and I knew right away that I would be doing this for a long time.
J –It was great to see the positive change in people straight away.
What is your fondest memory so far?
F & C – We saw an elderly woman who was poorly, with family all around. Lulu went on the bed and the lady woke up, stroked her and started talking. As we were leaving, we were told that the family was very grateful and that she is now eating which was incredible.
J – It was seeing a daughter smile as she was visiting her terminally ill mother and offering them both a moment of relief to just be with the dogs.
What are your thoughts on the programme?
F- I love TheraPaws as you can see the direct impact it has on the patients and the staff too.
C – It is very positive to see the residents respond to the animals. I hope it continues forever.
J- It is marvellous. I tell everybody about it and they think it is very worthwhile.
If you’d like to join our big-hearted group of supporters please contact TheraPaws Project Manager, Luke, on 020 8962 8004 or email [email protected]
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