Interacting with an animal has many physical and mental benefits. Just stroking a dog has been proven to reduce an individual’s blood pressure and heart rate, resulting in a calming effect.
Pets As Therapy (PAT) dogs have been visiting Morris Care residents for several years. The national charity was founded in 1983 and aims to enhance the health and well-being of people in several communal settings, including nursing homes.
Probably the most important benefit that a dog brings to a nursing home is their ability to improve residents’ moods. Being around a dog, stroking and talking to it has been said to reduce loneliness, boredom, depression and anxiety.
Any willing member of the public can volunteer their pet to become a part of the PAT Team. However, there are a few requirements that must be met:
- The pet must have been with their owner for over six months
- The pet must be over nine months of age
- The pet must pass the temperament test
Residents at Radbrook Nursing Home recently had a visit from Fanta the PAT dog, an Ibizan Hound who is constantly wagging his tail and loves a cocktail sausage or two. Fanta has been visiting the residents at Radbrook for two years and has formed wonderful relationships along the way. Fanta is actually deaf but his owner communicates in sign language and this doesn’t affect his ability to spread joy. His owner, Helen, said the most rewarding part of volunteering Fanta is when she takes him around the home to do room visits. Residents who are unable to leave their room or who rarely take part in activities tend to liven up and communicate more frequently when Fanta comes to see them. In some cases, residents who are bed-bound have been known to increase their mobility around him.
From seeing Fanta in action, it is clear to see the positive effect he has on residents. They love to stroke him, admire his beauty, laugh at his character and reminisce about dogs they once had.
See more pictures of the visit on our Facebook page.