Residents of a dementia care home in Plymouth are thrilled to be hunkering down away from the stormy weather in the company of Dudley, a six-month old puppy who belongs to the home’s administrator.
Owner Su Fuller, who has worked at Butterfly Lodge for 19 years, says she was ‘more than confident’ that the residents – who are all living with dementia – would fall for the pup she adopted last November.
Dudley is a Fraffie, which is a cross between a French bulldog and a Staffordshire bull terrier, and Su and her family also have an 18-month-old English Bull Terrier and a 10-year-old Chi/Yorkie cross.
“We have had him four months now and he is such an adorable, gentle little boy.”
“I knew our residents would love him so I brought him in for a trial visit and he loved being the centre of attention.”
“Dudley loves people and is always eager to see the residents. He loves a cuddle! He comes in about once a month.”
“Our activities co-ordinator Paul takes him round to see several of our residents who love to stroke and pet him, and he always says how Dudley makes them smile.”
“Quite a lot of the people we support had family pets in their younger years, so a little session with Dudley brings back all sorts of happy memories.”
Research has also shown that spending time with animals can genuinely benefit people’s physical health, with those who pet or play with a dog or cat, even for just five minutes, benefitting from lowered blood pressure and improved cardiovascular health.
Another therapeutic boost for people living with dementia is 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.
Butterfly Lodge is run by award-winning specialist dementia care provider Camelot Care, which also runs specialist care homes in Bridgwater and Wellington in Somerset. See www.camelotcare.co.uk