Five-year-old Dexter is now part of the family at the Woodside Grange Care Home in Rhos-on-Sea where he brightens the mood of everybody he’s around, especially those with dementia.
It’s a happy ending for their four-legged friend who was saved from a life of misery by Shropshire-based charity Hector’s Greyhound Rescue.The pampered pooch now even has his very own care plan in place, logging his favourite activities (sleeping!), treats and food preferences, bedtime routine and walk times!
He’s also proved a dab hand at care home life, giving the residents a gentle nudge when it’s time to go to bed and escorting them to their rooms – in return for the odd biscuit.
Such was the strong connection he had built with one elderly resident, her family requested Dexter’s presence at her funeral in a touching tribute to their relationship.
Woodside Grange now wants to encourage other care homes in Wales to consider adopting their own greyhound thanks to the positive impact it has had on mental wellbeing.
Praising their approach, Mario Kreft MBE, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, said: “Dexter has made a wonderful addition to Woodside Grange and has improved the lives of all those who come into contact with him.
“We’ve known for some time how beneficial pet therapy can be for fulfilment and relaxation and I’m delighted Woodside has taken it to the next level by offering a full-time home to Dexter. I’m sure many other care homes would reap the rewards of a full-time four-legged resident and I wish Hector’s Greyhound Rescue the very best of luck with their search for homes.”
Woodside’s owner, Michelle Snook, said: “When it was first suggested that we should adopt a greyhound I was very apprehensive. I’m a massive dog lover and I was concerned that things wouldn’t work out and he would have to be returned to the rescue.
“I needn’t have worried. From day one the rescue worked with us to ensure that a dog compatible with the challenges of a busy home was chosen. Dexter came with his foster mum for some day visits before joining us permanently.
“He has been a joy, he enhances the day for the residents, staff and visitors. He greets everyone with a wagging tail and makes us all feel special and loved.”
Resident Freda Ashley, 83, from Conwy, certainly agrees.“He’s excellent! I looked forward to seeing him every day,” she said.
The home is keen to support Hector’s Greyhound Rescue and encourage other care homes to consider adopting their own greyhound.
“We are really keen to get other care homes involved,” said Woodside manager Jackie Bodden, from Colwyn Bay. “Greyhounds are a good height so they don’t get under anybody’s feet. Dexter’s very lazy and spends most of his time on his back with his legs up in the air. Everybody has fallen in love with him.
“He’s part of the family and he’s very important to them. All the residents and visitors know him. We’ve seen a massive difference in everyone. He brings them so much pleasure. They just connect with him.”