They are the new irrepressible double act at Redwalls Nursing Home – T J and Frankie.
When T J Adamson arrived as manager of the Kingsley Healthcare home in Sandiway, Cheshire, residents were delighted to discover his six-year-old pet pug Frankie came too.
TJ said: “I have really been enjoying getting to know the residents and their families but I have to say the biggest smiles are always reserved for Frankie!
“Residents are always happy to see her, calling her and giving her treats, and they are delighted when she sits on their laps.”
He said Frankie had been every bit as much of a star at previous care homes he had worked in.
“The presence of dogs and other pets undoubtedly makes care homes seem more homely places and less of a clinical environment,” he said.
“But there is also science behind pet therapy. Petting animals has been shown to release ‘happy hormones’, lifting people’s mood.”
TJ, who in 2006, at the age of 18, became the youngest care manager in the UK at a residential home in Southport, Merseyside, firmly believes in an holistic approach to supporting residents with dementia.
“When people become agitated the company of dogs can be tremendously calming,” he said.
Hs previous home, Thornton Manor Nursing Home, in Chester, became recognised for its innovative ways of supporting people with dementia, reducing levels of challenging behaviour through natural means using reflexology and massage as well as pet therapy - rather than medication.
“Many of our residents will have had pets earlier in their life and their presence in the care home brings back fond memories. At Redwalls, in the future, I would like to develop a small petting corner with rabbits and perhaps hens,” he said.
“There are occupational therapy benefits of helping to feed and clean pets. It provides a sense of purpose and a reason to get up each day as well as the calming soothing benefit of petting them.”