After an absence of over a year due to COVID, residents at a Wellington dementia care home have been delighted by the return of Bow the therapy dog, a firm favourite at Camelot House and Lodge where people have greatly missed his fortnightly visits.
And six-year-old Bow, a schnauzer/poodle cross known as a schnoodle – is just as happy to be back with her old friends, according to owner Bev Stanley, a volunteer with Pets As Therapy.
Bev Stanley said: “It was wonderful to receive the news from both Pets As Therapy and Camelot Care to say that as long as restrictions were adhered to, visits could recommence.
“After we agreed a date I arrived to have my lateral flow test done before we could go into the care home to see everybody.
“There was no doubt that Bow knew exactly where she was and had a very puzzled look on her face as to why she wasn’t getting out straight away, and in fact was horrified when I got back into the car, because she didn’t understand it was only to wait for my test result.
“As soon as I got the all-clear we went in – and it was just so lovely to be back and seeing everyone again.
“It didn’t take long for Bow to get back into the routine of me gently lifting her paws up and placing them at the side of residents’ knees, making it easier for them to stroke her and say hello.
“It’s so good to be back visiting, and to be able to be part of the amazing activities and entertainment that Richard Dempslake and his brilliant team are continuously providing for all the residents at Camelot House and Lodge.”
Richard Dempslake, activities co-ordinator at the home, said: “Bow is such a lovely gentle little dog and the residents really love her.
“Bev had been bringing her to see us regularly since June 2018, so we’re thrilled to be able to welcome her and Bev back into Camelot House and Lodge once more.
“Pets As Therapy was established because research shows that stroking or playing with an animal brings about an improved sense of well-being on many levels, which means Bow’s visits provide a real therapeutic boost for the people we support
“Expert opinion is that time spent with animals can genuinely benefit people’s physical health, with as little as five minutes a day petting or playing with a dog or cat leading to lowered blood pressure and better cardiovascular health.”
It is also known that enjoying a pet’s company promotes a feeling of relaxation, which in turn can help to relieve symptoms of anxiety and reduce physical issues such as pain. Further details are available from www.petsastherapy.org