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Two chihuahuas and a labrador brighten life at Scole care home

oaklands story taniaAmies

Over the past year, two chihuahuas, Alfie and Oakley, and an 11-year-old labrador Mollie, have become an integral part of the family at Oaklands care home in Scole – and their therapeutic benefit to residents has astounded staff.   Krissy Watts, head of care, said: “Bringing my chihuahuas into the home initially happened by chance. “The first day I got Oakley I brought him into the home because I needed to take him to the vets at the end of my shift. But the residents just fell in love with him and it became a regular thing. They even decided to name him after the home.” Then Alfie then came along and the pair have now become regular visitors to Oaklands during Miss Watts’ shifts. Many of the residents have dementia and interaction with the dogs has delivered a calming effect. Miss Watts said: “We have been able to include pet therapy in the care plans of certain residents. Carer wins national award for doing ‘the best job ever’ Care worker, Tania Amies, who works at Oaklands in Scole, has beaten hundreds of applicants to win a national award.

Ms Amies has been awarded Best Activities Co-ordinator for People Living with Dementia at the National Dementia Care Awards. Success at the awards made it a double for Ms Amies who has also scooped the Care Home Support Services Champion title in Kingsley Healthcare’s in-house awards. Ms Amies, of Heywood Avenue, describes her role at the home as one of many parts – clown, artist, gardener, joker, shopper and friend. The 44-year-old said she felt she had found her vocation as soon as she joined the team at the home 12 months ago. Ms Amies said: “It is the best job ever. What you get back is tremendously motivating.” Home manager Helen Gosling said: “Tania has had a massive impact on the home.

Her enthusiasm and energy are amazing.” Ms Amies’ application for the awards was supported by three of the residents’ families. One relative said: “The moments of joy Tania brings to my 94-year-old mum’s life are nothing short of miraculous.” The industry expert judges at the awards, presented by singer and celebrity Cheryl Baker, said they had chosen Ms Amies “because we would have her on our team”. “If they become agitated or distressed, it has an amazing soothing effect. One lady’s mood changes the instant she sees the dogs.” The home’s activities co-ordinator Tania Amies now includes her Labrador Mollie in her programme of events. Ms Amies said: “The residents love to cuddle the small dogs but with Mollie they enjoy taking her for a walk in the garden or playing fetch with her. One of our residents used to breed dogs and compete at Crufts. Sometimes she says, ‘I have got to go and walk the dogs’, and that is the cue for us to go outside with Mollie.” Stroking Alfie, resident Doreen Webster, said: “I would rather talk to dogs than people.”  

Home manager Helen Gosling said: “The impact of the dogs in changing people’s moods has been amazing. One resident used to prefer to stay in her room a lot of the time. But now when the dogs are here she loves to come down and socialise.”    


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