Lizzie Bennett’s face lights up every time playful pooch Daisy, a 10-month old Bichon Frise, scampers into her room and jumps onto her bed at the Pendine Park care organisation in Wrexham.
Thirty-year-old Lizzie and her two brothers, Christopher, 37, and Jonathan, 32, all have the cruel hereditary illness, Huntingdon’s Disease, which has been described as Parkinson’s Motor Neurone and Alzheimer’s all rolled into one.
Lizzie and Christopher are both residents at Pendine’s Penybryn Care Home which specialises in looking after people with neurological disorders and acquired brain injury.
Brother Jonathan still lives independently but will need increasing levels of care as time wears on.
Diminutive Daisy, who’s just 10 inches tall, is also a massive hit with the other residents and staff, belongs to Pendine Park director Gill Hughes.
The caring canine spends every day at Penybryn while Gill works in her office or is out and about.
Lizzie’s mum, Kim James, from Llay, said: “I cared for Lizzie full-time until February 2018 when she moved into Penybryn.
“She is in the final stages of the disease now unfortunately and is now unable to swallow and is fed through a feeding peg in her abdomen. She can no longer move independently.
“It’s such a cruel disease. The condition is hereditary and their father carried the gene.
“It’s amazing to see how Daisy just lifts Lizzie’s spirits. She gets so excited when Daisy goes in her room. She will jump up on her bed and gently nibble her toes. It has Lizzie in fits of laughter, she just gets so excited.
Gill Hughes, Pendine Park Care Organisation’s regulation and compliance manager and responsible individual, spends every day at Penybryn Neurological Centre and Care Home while Gill works away in her office.
Daisy has also been a huge comfort to Gill Hughes.
She explained: “After my husband passed away I was advised to get a dog if only for company. My brother has a Bichon Frise and I thought it was the breed of dog that would suit me.
“Daisy started coming to work with me every day but she was never particularly happy just sitting in my office. So, I started dropping her off with Tracey Cuthill the manager of Penybryn and she quickly made it her second home.
“She’s now a firm favourite of residents, staff and relatives and spends most of the day following Tracey around Penybryn interacting with residents and relatives.
Penybryn manager Tracey Cuthill said: “It’s remarkable the difference Daisy can make to the lives of residents. They just adore her and relatives do too.
“Lizzie can be really down and miserable but Daisy making a fuss of her and tickling her feet just has her laughing.
“Huntington’s is a terrible disease and although she can no longer move independently, speak or even swallow she is still fully aware of what is going on around her and contact with Daisy just has a massive effect on her well-being.”