Residents at Heron Lodge really love Ginger Beer!
Ginger Beer has brought some welcome added fizz to Heron Lodge in Wroxham.
For the sweetly named standard poodle has proved that she has really got it licked when it comes to brightening the lives of residents at the Kingsley Healthcare run nursing home in Norwich Road.
Owner Jon Wright, 71, a retired airline pilot, of Beighton Road, Acle, described as “remarkable” the bond forged between his pet and the home’s residents, many of whom are living with dementia.
He said he had applied to become a volunteer with the Pets As Therapy (PAT) charity to “provide some activity for Ginger Beer” after his other dog had died.
Mr Wright, who worked for Continental Airlines and is originally from the west coast of the US, said: “I knew she was calm and very well behaved but we still had to go through a 15-point check to prove she is suitable.”
During an “interview” at a local pet store with a PAT coordinator Ginger Beer was tested how she would react in a number of circumstances, for example if someone ran up waving and screaming, or if a tin tray was loudly dropped on the floor behind her.
He said: “She passed with flying colours and has shown how good her temperament is since we started visiting homes – on one occasion she was smacked on the nose but her only reaction was to walk on calmly to the next person.”
Heron Lodge activities coordinator Janette Sumner said: “Ginger Beer brings a lot of comfort to our residents and brings back memories of their own pets. They love to stroke her.”
Research had shown that dogs could also have a relaxing effect on people living with dementia, she added.
Carole Adam, volunteer coordinator and dog assessor for PAT Norwich, said there were currently 150 dogs and three cats registered with the charity in Norfolk.
“Due to demand for our services, we have a massive waiting list and some places have been waiting for over six years,” she said.
Anyone interested in registering as a PAT volunteer with their pet is asked to visit https://petsastherapy.org/
Find out more about Heron Lodge care home.