Ahead of International Dog Day, Friday, 26th August, residents at The Manor House Bupa Care Home are sharing the well-being benefits of a special furry friend who’s become a regular visitor: Tux, the five-month-old Imperial Shih Tzu.
Tux has been visiting the residents at the Wirral-based care home since he was twelve weeks old with his owner, home manager Kathryn McDonald. And since then, he has established himself as an integral member of the Manor House community. With his cheeky face, smooth black coat, and cuddly nature, it’s not surprising that the residents have all fallen for him.
But it’s not just the residents Tux is caring for. Kathryn had been struggling with anxiety due to menopause before he came along and says: ‘He is simply my best friend. We lost our previous Shih Tzu, Vinny, in 2020 through old age. Since getting Tux, he’s brought so much joy and happiness back into my life.’
She now plans to train him as a fully-fledged therapy dog: ‘I also wanted to get a dog, so he could train with the Pets As Therapy service and eventually be our very own Manor House pet therapy dog.’
Kathryn knew from the get-go that Tux had a personality that would fit in perfectly at home. She explains: ‘As soon as we introduced him to our lovely residents, he made friends for life, and they love taking care of him. It brings a tear to my eye when I see how happy the residents are with him.’
Residents at The Manor Home Bupa Care Home have welcomed Tux with open arms. Resident David Hurworth, 83, says his favourite thing about Tux is that ‘he’s lovely and gentle and soft to touch.’
When asked what three words she’d used to describe Tux, fellow resident Carol Edwards, also 83, heart-warmingly decided on ‘gorgeous, patient, friend’. Both residents love setting themselves up in an armchair to share a relaxing cuddle with Tux, who is incredibly happy to oblige.
Tux’s visits provide a real lift for lifelong dog lovers like resident Anita Jones, 66. Alex Reay, the activities coordinator, explains: ‘Anita used to have her dog, called Holly, who came to live in the home with her when she first moved in. Anita loves dogs and is always happy when she sees Tux.’
Known as animal-assisted therapy, early research shows that animals can greatly benefit everyone. Research shows that playing with a pet is a great outlet for expression and can even help to strengthen our social and problem-solving skills.
Being around pets like Tux can also be effective for those who’ve had a stroke or live with dementia or depression. Moreover, pooch time has been shown to help reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and stress levels.
Tux will spend this International Dog Day adored (as usual) and sharing his good spirit with the residents and staff at The Manor. Rumour has it that he may even get an extra treat or two.
If you don’t own a dog of your own but would still like the health benefits, did you know that just being around one can be enough to get a well-being boost? Why not suggest meeting up with a dog-owning friend, or visiting your local dog shelter, this International Dog Day?