TheraPaws is a program that was launched by the London, England animal shelter Mayhew Animal Home. This program helps volunteers by allowing them to have their dogs with them when they visit care homes. The people behind the program believe that dogs can provide comfort, affection, and love to people who live in care homes.
One old woman has been living in a care home and for three days, she has not interacted with anyone. She also did not eat or speak during that time. It was around that time that a volunteer of TheraPaws, Flick Thorley, came around with her dog Lulu. She placed Lulu on the old woman’s bed and she witnessed how the woman’s reaction seemed to be more positive.
According to Flick, she felt like as soon as Lulu was beside the woman, the woman instantly got life back in her eyes. The staff at the care home also shared that even when Lulu and the volunteers left for the day, the old woman still was in a positive mood. She also took her meds, ate, and talked with her family. The woman’s family was very happy and thankful for the visit.
Katherine Harris is also another patient who is at the St. Luke’s Hospice. According to her, she felt her day become even better when she got a visit from Lulu. She was feeling already down that day but when Lulu came in her room, she seemed to instantly feel a whole lot better. Katherine said that if it were possible, she would like to see Lulu daily and she considers the dog as her newest fur buddy.
These are prime examples of just how much of a positive effect therapy dogs bring to elderlies. Studies have also shown that old people also benefit from lower blood pressure and a lower heart rate when they get visits from therapy dogs.