October 5, 2017
Photos: Burnham-On-Sea nursing home welcomes therapy dog

A therapy dog's regular visits to a Burnham-On-Sea nursing home are helping to improve elderly residents confidence and mental health.

Towans Care Home in Berrow Road welcomes Shep, a 7-year-old Border Collie, for regular visits which have delivered all manner of benefits.

"Shep has been coming to us for the past couple of months and is wonderful with the residents," Jo Boobyer, activity co-ordinator, told

"His visits have theraputic benefits thanks to the stroking and interaction, and he prompts conversation with the handler and other residents, and also encourages reminiscing about their own old pets."

"We've found that many residents previously had animals before they came to us and they miss the interaction."

"Shep is very well natured and has been warmly welcomed by the residents. We gave them all the choice of having him him visit and 20 wanted to see him. Shep is very much in demand!"

She added: "Pets As Therapy, a dog therapy group, approached us to see if we were interested and we jumped at the chance."

The dog's owner, John Bartlett, told "Shep loves going along to nursing homes and dementia homes where the residents are so appreciative."

"He's such a friendly dog who loves being active and meeting people - and he gets more biscuits on his visits than at home!"

Shep is always kept on a lead and is accompanied by John during his visits, which are fully insured by Pets As Therapy.

John, 77, who is retired, added: "We do about 7-8 visits a month to homes across the area. I enjoy the visits as much as Shep - it helps to give a little something back to the community and keeps us active."

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