Canine companions are helping to lift the spirits of Essex residents receiving care at home.
Benfleet-based Anglian Care introduced Animal Assisted Therapy sessions in July, in the hope of combatting the mental health struggles of service users during the first lockdown, and the response has been extremely positive.
Charles Cross, chief operating officer at Anglian Care said: “The feedback that we have had has been amazing, with individuals saying it ‘made their day’. One gentleman was so happy and said ‘it is lovely to know that you care so much’.”
The initiative was started by care coordinator Kesley Stewart, who said she feels she has made “a real difference to people’s lives”.
She added: “I have recently got another puppy and, as soon as she is old enough and had all her injections, she will be going to visit the clients as well. While in lockdown, some of the individuals commented on how lonely they felt and, after seeing how effective pet therapy was in a hospital setting and my dogs helping me get through lockdown, I wanted to share the affection they have to give.”
Charles explained that family members have noticed a positive change in their loved ones’ mood after receiving a visit from Kesley and her dogs.
He commented: “This has been a big topic of conversation with others in the care team and they are looking forward to Kelsey visiting them in the future. Although a short visit, it is extremely impactful on their mental health, especially at this time.”