The Mayhew Animal Home’s TheraPaws dogs recently took a trip to visit older people, some with dementia, at an outreach event with Age UK Camden.
Our volunteers Deborah Taffler and her dog Noodle and Ilonka Scaman and her dog BenJecky all spent valuable time at the Age UK event at the Great Croft Resource Centre in Camden, London, which offers over 60’s a variety of services and activities.
The Mayhew’s TheraPaws programme recognises the mutual benefits of animals engaging with older people, particularly with dementia, improving relationships between humans and dogs. As well as enhancing people’s lives by helping to reduce social isolation, stress and unlocking memories and emotions, the initiative also helps animals by raising awareness of the positive effects dogs can have, including promoting respect and compassion towards animals.
All eyes were on our TheraPaws dogs when they arrived at the centre and they were quickly awarded with cuddles and big smiles from their devoted admirers.
Irene Robinson, who attends the Age UK Camden resource centre, said: “I’m 92 years old and all my life I’ve always had dogs or been surrounded by dogs.”
“It’s been lovely to have them here today, being able to cuddle them. It has definitely brightened up my day.”
Our volunteers, who go on regular visits to care homes, day centres, hospices and hospitals across 11 different London boroughs, can see how worthwhile it is taking their dogs on these visits, having witnessed first-hand the positive impact that it has on people from the way their eyes light up to the smile on their faces when they enter a room. The dogs bring a lot of joy and comfort, especially to those who have had to give up their pets.
Antonio D’Este, Age UK Day Care Manager, said: “I first heard about TheraPaws through The Mayhew Animal Home’s open day in June. I thought this was a great initiative to introduce to our Age UK groups.”
“It’s so lovely to see the dogs interacting with people, and it gets them talking about pets that they had in the past. It’s wonderful to see their reactions when they enter the room – their faces instantly light up.”
Luke Berman, Project Manager, TheraPaws, said: “It was a terrific day. The volunteers and their dogs really enjoyed interacting with so many different people. It’s clear to see that our dogs bring a lot of joy and wellbeing to people.”
To find out more about TheraPaws, then please visit www.themayhew.org/therapaws or call 020 8962 8004.
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