Paul is a person we support at one of our supported living properties in West Yorkshire. Previously, he lived in a residential care home for around ten years. He has learning disabilities, enjoys routine and being social. Paul likes a good chat, in particular with his family, and meeting lots of animals…especially dogs! This is because when he was growing up, Paul had a large furry family consisting of two cats, Lilo and Tiger, and two dogs, Scrap and Bip, which made him feel happy. He still feels that joy whenever he has a chance encounter with a four-legged pal!
Introducing pet therapy
Sometimes Paul can feel a bit sad, so team member, Marcelle, recommended pet therapy after previously using it and knowing how well it would work with Paul. The team knew routine and interaction for Paul would work well and help boost his self-esteem.
Pet therapy is a great way to improve your mood and reduce stress levels, as dogs can have a calming effect. This works well with Paul because when he is feeling down, he normally talks to his dog ornament. When Paul talks to his do ornament, it helps the team to know how he is feeling and how best to support him.
Spending time with Charlie
Charlie is Paul’s fluffy friend who visits each week for his pet therapy session for an hour. Paul loves this time with Charlie as it gives him comfort, laugh and, of course, cuddles! These interactions release calming endorphins in Paul’s body that helps him destress, relax and feel happy.
Routine is important to Paul, and the day before the visit, he’ll be very excited and will talk about it all day. The excitement of having Charlie visit him makes Paul feel special and as a team we love knowing the therapy sessions are making a real difference to his mental wellbeing.
Paul enjoys a chat, so he’ll talk to Charlie’s owners during the therapy session about football and where they take Charlie for walks. Paul has photos of him and Charlie on his fridge as a reminder of the fun and happy times he has during each session.
Over the last few weeks, Paul has also talking about taking Charlie for a short walk. This a great goal for Paul to work towards, so the team are currently planning the first short walk in a nearby area.
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