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Pet Therapy Incorporated into Everyday Life at Westgate Healthcare

As many people will own a pet at some point in their life, we understand how important spending time with animals can be. Research has shown that having animals around can help alleviate stress and can even be a conversation starter between many residents, even between those who may have not plucked up the courage to communicate with each other in the past.

Pet therapy benefits include:

  • Residents being more active
  • Reduces stress levels
  • Better communication between residents
  • A sense of responsibility
  • A great source of reminiscence

Our care homes have seen visits from dogs, rabbits, owls, and even reptiles. 

Riverdale Care Home have regular visits from Pets As Therapy (PAT) dogs. The visits are something that the residents look forward to and really do brighten up their day. It’s safe to say there is never a shortage of cuddles available at Riverdale!

St Pauls Care Centre have three rabbits; Rocky, Echo and Chewy! The rabbits have become part of the family, regularly coming into the home for cuddles and one-to-one therapy sessions. One resident has even taken on the role of ‘Resident Pet Enthusiast’ as part of our Lifestyle Pioneer programme.

Beth, Head of Activities at St. Pauls said: ‘The rabbits are a wonderful addition to St. Pauls. When we adopted both Echo and Chewy the residents voted on their names. I’ve found pet therapy extremely effective; I have seen first-hand that it can calm, reassure and support our residents in all different scenarios, you see a whole new side of them!’   



Residents at Ashview Nursing Home took things one step further and recently decided to hatch their own fluffy friends! The Ashview team made sure to nurture and care for five little chicks, from egg to hatchling. The residents got to name, cuddle and care for them.

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