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Pets take centre stage in supporting wellbeing

Nicola who is supported by Brandon in Wiltshire, was finding things difficult during lockdown. She is used to being out and about, socialising with friends, seeing family, and going to lots of different groups and clubs.

Initially, Nicola discovered new ways of keeping busy indoors; doing arts and crafts, puzzles, baking, and playing computer games.

Keeping active

Nicola and DaisyThe team also knew it was important to encourage Nicola to keep active and get out for regular walks and fresh air, which Nicola isn’t very keen on. So, the team challenged themselves to come up with ideas to make going for a walk more appealing.

Locality manager, Kirstie, decided that on own her daily walk, she would take a visitor to see Nicola; Daisy the dog. Nicola loves animals. She was really excited to see Daisy and equally keen to take her out for a walk.

Impressive determination

After a short while, Nicola said she was tired, but with great determination she ended up walking for more than an hour. Upon returning home, they worked out the route and discovered it was two miles!

Nicola was very impressed with her achievements:

“I love Daisy and she loves me! I think she liked her walk and I will sleep well tonight!”

A pets-eye point of view!

At a Brandon nursing home in Bristol, there’s a very special, furry team member. With a little help from her human, Nina the dog gives her thoughts on her job.

Nina dances with a human“My name is Nina and my human is the locality manager of a nursing home for adults with learning disabilities. I go to work with my human, I’m what you call a working dog. I wait patiently by the front door until my human is finally ready to take me to work, I don’t want her to forget me.

“We arrive at the home and I’m so excited. The first thing I do is go to see all the people and find out which staff are working (some of them give me biscuits). Everyone is always smiling at me and giving me lots of fuss, I like that. I don’t mind the noise and there are lots of interesting smells.

“I am a valued member of the team; I’ve even been referred to as the Deputy Manager. I’m not sure what that means but I know biscuits are involved. I can demonstrate the correct way to wear a mask and I enjoy a little dance with some of the humans. It’s usually a busy morning so, in the afternoon I spend time in the office having a little snooze. Then, when my human is ready to take me home, I do one last run round to say goodbye before going home for a long sleep.”

Pets support wellbeing

These short stories show that whilst living through a pandemic and lockdown restrictions, simply spending some time with a pet can help support both mental and physical wellbeing.

More stories and information

We’ve been hearing lots of similar stories about pets taking centre stage for their therapeutic benefits, including one particular story about a very special dog called Max. He trained as a therapy dog and has been awarded the Order of Merit for outstanding devotion – that’s the equivalent of an OBE!