Care home resident inspired to speak


RALPH the dog turned a care home resident who rarely speaks into a chatterbox during a recent visit.

The pet pooch and his owner, Ian Turnbull, were visiting The Beeches Care Home, in Stockton-on-Tees.

When the pair went to see resident Brian Fenny, 85, who has dementia, staff were surprised when he began speaking to his four-legged visitor.

Jessica Roth, activities coordinator at The Beeches Care Home, said: “Brian doesn’t tend to talk that much and mainly communicates through gestures and looking at pictures.

“However, when he saw Ralph, he started talking in sentences. He kept saying Ralph was “lovely”, and a “good boy”. He was telling Ralph to sit and wait as he was giving him his dog treats.

“Brian had a big smile on his face and then, when Ralph was going to see the next resident, he put his thumbs up.

“Myself and the other girls on shift were surprised at how much he responded to Ralph. It warmed our hearts seeing him so happy with the dog.”

The visit from Ralph and Ian was arranged through Wag and Company North East Friendship Dogs.

The charity assesses volunteers and their dogs and arranges regular visits to older dog lovers in their own homes or in care and medical establishments across the region.

As well as visiting Brian, Ralph was taken to see other residents in their rooms and those sat in the main lounges in both the home’s residential and dementia units.

Jessica Brown, home manager at The Beeches Care Home, said: “Everyone responded well to Ralph and enjoyed giving him dog treats.

“A big thank you goes to Ian for bringing Ralph to meet the residents and to Wag and Company for arranging the visit.

“The residents always love visits from animals, particularly dogs, as many of them used to be dog owners and activities like this bring back fond memories.”


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