Wellbeing

MiMi the therapy dog aces care home visits

For care home resident Patricia, Wednesdays can’t come around quickly enough.

It’s the day she gets to spend some quality time with her favourite pooch, border terrier MiMi, on her visits to Chestnut Lodge near Yeovil run by care provider Camelot Care.

MiMi, 12, alongside her owner Ros Kanter, is a regular at the home that provides nursing care for up to 24 people living with dementia.

“Patricia and MiMi are a bit of a mutual appreciation society,” said Ros, from Halstock, who visits the home with MiMi as part of the national Pets As Therapy (PAT) scheme.

“Patricia is a huge dog lover and enjoys reminiscing about her former lhasa apso dog, Dolly, who she adored. It really brightens her day and brings back happy memories.

“She loves nothing more than having a stroke and a cuddle with MiMi, who of course laps up all the attention.”

Pets As Therapy is a charity that works to enhance the health and wellbeing of people through the companionship of an animal.

“When I walk into Chestnut Lodge the residents call out “MiMi’s here! which is lovely. The visit seems to really energise them and get them talking,” added Ros.

“I crouch down with her almost on my lap so she’s the same height as they are which allows them to stroke her easily. It’s lovely to see their smiling faces.

“MiMi is very good with the residents. It’s like she senses when she needs to be gentle and quiet.”

Jacqui Cuff, activities co-ordinator at Chestnut Lodge, said MiMi’s visits help bring people out of their shell and get them talking.

“When Ros brings MiMi into the home, our residents’ faces really light up. It gets them reminiscing about things and sparks all kinds of different conversations.

“That engagement brings a different dynamic into the home and changes the atmosphere. It’s something different; it’s a sensory thing.

“They will remember the visit and will say they are looking forward to MiMi coming again.”

Chestnut Lodge, run by care provider Camelot Care, was opened by the mayor of Yeovil, councillor Evie Potts-Jones in May 2023.

The home, which is at the top of Hendford Hill, is set over three floors with residents’ rooms set around a central courtyard garden with views over Yeovil.

Chestnut Lodge is one of four specialist dementia care homes run by Camelot Care in Somerset and Devon. Further details at www.camelotcare.co.uk

Kirsty

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