As dog owners ourselves, the team at Dog Furiendly knows just how much joy and comfort our furry friends can bring into our lives. We’re proud to partner with Age Connects Cardiff & the Vale to bring this same happiness to older people in the community through the Community Paws scheme.
Age Connects is a small local charity dedicated to supporting older individuals and combating loneliness and social isolation. With the help of our friends at Burns Pet Nutrition and Pets as Therapy, they’re making a real difference by bringing trained dogs into care homes and offering regular companionship through home visits.
In this guest blog, Age Connects Cardiff & the Vale shares their mission to bring love, joy, and comfort to older individuals through partnerships with Burns Pet Nutrition, Pets as Therapy, and us, Dog Furiendly.
It’s estimated that 50% of UK adults own a pet (PDSA). Pets are here for us when we’re happy, sad, unwell, lonely and everything else in between. They love us unconditionally, which is why they make perfect companions.
Recognising this, three of the partnerships of which we’re most proud at Age Connects Cardiff & the Vale are with Burns Pet Nutrition, Pets as Therapy and Dog Furiendly. We work with these key partners to tackle the growing problem of loneliness amongst vulnerable older people.
Studies have shown that forging a relationship with a pet can have both physical and psychological benefits – helping to keep our body and mind in good condition. Interacting with a pet regularly can lower blood pressure and reduce anxiety and provide a reason to take regular exercise each day. And, having a strong bond with a pet gives a reason to appreciate life and connect with others – particularly important for older people who can be socially isolated or struggle to find a sense of purpose.
When care homes in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan were asked if a visit from a friendly four-legged friend might be of interest, we just couldn’t believe the overwhelming positive response! As part of our ongoing partnership with Burns Pet Nutrition, we joined forces with Dog Furiendly and Pets as Therapy, with the first care home visit to the Forge Care Centre in Ely a complete success. Residents were delighted and seeing their faces light up on meeting Charlie was very special.
The ‘Community Paws’ scheme is now being rolled out so that other interested care homes can benefit from pup visits too – and we’re delighted that there have been no shortage of dog owners and their pups who’ve come along to the assessment days for participation in the scheme. For so many older people who live alone or were once pet owners, spending time with a trained dog, whether through a care home visit or meeting one of our amazing volunteers’ pooches, is a great way to feel less isolated and more integrated.
How You Can Make A Diference
As a small local charity, we are always seeking volunteers and donations to help us continue to deliver our vital services supporting older people in our communities.Through our current ‘a Natter Matters’ fundraising campaign, we’re hoping to raise £5,670 to recruit and train 30 new volunteers and pay their expenses to provide weekly companionship through home visits or telephone calls to clients over twelve months.
If you can help us by pledging support to ensure that more natters take place in 2023 then visit: https://www.ageconnectscardiff.org.uk/a-natter-matters