There are many physical and psychological benefits for older people of interacting with animals. These can range from lowering blood pressure to releasing calming endorphins and decreasing anxiety to boosting mood.
It’s no surprise then, that all of our 120 Care UK homes include pet therapy in their activities in some form, including dogs, cats, rabbits and even miniature ponies. And increasingly, many of our homes are, at residents’ request, adopting their own pets.
And on 20th February, many of our homes opened their doors to even more friendly animals in celebration of the national Love Your Pet Day when residents got to cuddle guinea pigs, cats and rabbits.
A responsible approach
In Care UK homes, residents make decisions about all aspects of home life. With many animal lovers among our residents, some homes are embracing animal therapy on a permanent basis by adopting their own dogs, cats, birds and chickens. The homes take their adoptions very seriously, with colleagues visiting the pet-to-be any number of times, and the pet visiting the home, before the final decision is made.
Meet our canine managers
Sinbad is ‘canine relations manager’ at Mildenhall Lodge in Mildenhall. A gentle and affectionate lurcher, he was adopted from a rescue charity and has been delighting residents at the home for over two years. He’s not the home’s only pet – the team and residents care for budgies, canaries and chickens. In fact, they recently registered with the Cinnamon Trust as part of the charity’s Pet Friendly Care Home and Retirement Housing register.
Todd is responsible for canine relations at Hadrian Park in Billingham, Cleveland when he joined the home from the Dogs Trust in May last year. After a busy day of treats and tummy rubs, he tells us that he likes to snuggle up with his blankets and teddies for some ‘Todd time’.
Todd even took part in the filming of Channel 5’s Britain’s Top 100 Dogs and you can read more about him here.
“I only joined the home in May 2018, but I’m an experienced dog of the world and very much in my prime, as you can see. I’m looking forward to many happy years here, helping residents and making them smile”
Honey shares her secrets
Honey, a greyhound, joined Brook Court in Kidderminster last year too. She tells us:
“I have a very busy schedule going around the whole home each day, visiting all the residents for pats, cuddles and snuggles.
I’ve got to know the lovely people who work in the kitchen, who give me a yummy sausage every morning and sardines with my dinner.
I have a comfy, warm coat to wear on walks, and I like having walks with the residents because they give me lots of time to sniff everything. I have a bed in every office, and the residents let me sleep next to them on their big comfy sofas while they stroke my fur. They give me tit-bits, but I’m not really meant to tell anyone about that – it’s a secret!”
In our March newsletter…
We hear from Mitzi, the resident cat at Pear Tree Court – plus a few other animals you would never expect to see in a care home.