Staff and residents felt that Labradoodle Molly plays such an important role in the wellbeing of everyone at the Home that the title of ‘Health and Wellbeing Support Officer’ should be bestowed upon her.
Molly lives with the Home’s Activities Coordinator Abby Dawson and goes to work with her on a regular basis to interact with residents and staff. Now 14 months old, Molly has been a familiar face at the Home since she was seven weeks old.
Among Molly’s ‘duties’ are:
Being available for stroking and patting. Sensory stimulation has a proven effect on the wellbeing of residents.
Playing ball with residents in the Home’s gardens, encouraging them to exercise and get some fresh air.
Cheering up residents and staff on a rainy day, she has a calming effect if anyone is upset.
Accompanying residents on trips to Exmouth beach and Exeter Quay, so they can enjoy feeling part of the wider community.
Abby says: “Our residents love Molly very much and see her as the Home’s dog. We started off joking about giving her a job title and then thought actually she genuinely deserves it as she really is a valued member of the team and contributes enormously to the wellbeing of our residents.”
Abby runs regular training sessions where the residents help with Molly’s development and teach her new tricks – such as jumping through a hula hoop.
Abby explains: “One of the residents was a training manager for the Guide Dogs for many years and gives me lots of training tips. He loves spending time with Molly as he has spent most of his life around dogs.”
In their spare time Abby and Molly love going for long adventurous walks in the woods or at the beach. Molly’s favourite hobby is being a trail dog. Abby and partner Andrew are keen mountain bikers and Molly loves running behind the bikes in the woods.
In case you’re wondering, Molly doesn’t receive a salary, but her efforts are rewarded with her favourite dog biscuits.
Abby adds: “She is the kindest and sweetest dog. She loves cuddles on the sofa in the evenings and stealing socks, but luckily just mine and not the residents!”