The introduction of pet therapy saw the beautiful Bella make her debut at Safe Haven Dementia Centre recently, and it didn’t take her long to charm her way onto the sofas for cuddles with our clients.

Bella, a Jack Russell cross Papillon Terrier who is owned by one of the Safe Haven team, is ideally suited to pet therapy as she has an extremely placid nature. Being 13-years-old, she’s not as boisterous as younger dogs can be. She is also very comfortable with strangers, is not loud or anxious in personality and is bathed and groomed on a regular basis.

Some of our clients are very mobile and enjoyed taking her for short accompanied walks with staff members, and those who are less mobile were happy to just sit, watch and enjoy her presence and company.

Pet-therapy-at-Safe-HavenResearch has shown that people with dementia often see pets, such as cats and dogs, as being friendly and non-threatening, and as they offer unconditional love, they make an ideal companion. This can help to eliminate various issues related to the condition, such as difficulty with engaging in social interaction, loneliness, isolation, depression and anxiety.

Our own experiences have shown that a person with dementia who is not responding to much in their natural environment will respond to the love and affection that a pet can offer. With this in mind, and seeing as our pet therapy session has proved to be a roaring success, we plan to make it a regular feature of our activities’/therapies’ timetable.

For more information, please call 01494 854 399 or email: enquiries@safehavendementiacentre.co.uk.