Honiton Carers Meeting

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Honiton Carers Support Group last meeting took place at Hospiscare Kings House on Wednesday 23rd October. The Speaker for the session was Jenny Butterfield. (Hospiscare Navigator) whose topic was Pets and Therapy.

Jenny brought along her dog Findlay, a Golden retriever, who is three years old  and is a very gentle and caring dog. Jenny explained that Pets as Therapy was set up as a National Charity in 1982 following a six month Pilot Scheme in Derbyshire to benefit depressed and lonely people, which was found to be very beneficial. There are now 5000 Active dogs and also a large number of Cats.This was found to speed up recovery and rehabilitation and a great benefit to patients and staff. The dogs are very perceptive and can recognise when people are feeling down or ill.The Dogs and their handlers visit Hospitals, Hospises, Care Homes and Schools.

Dogs are great at breaking the ice when meeting someone new and in being able to open a conversation.They are a useful tool in awakening reminiscences, and patting the dog can for dog lovers lower stress levels, give people a feeling of worth, help with stroke rehabilitation and be very beneficial.

Jenny also talked about the Read to Dogs Scheme where dogs are taken into class rooms at schools to help reluctant readers. Whilst some children will not read aloud to an adult they will  happily read to a dog, which is not judgemental. This helps tremendously with reading and literacy.

These dogs can also help people who have a dog phobia.

To become involved in the Pets for Therapy scheme, the dog must be well mannered, friendly and have a  calm temperament, walk on a lead, accept treats, not jump up and need to be unflappable.

The dog must be over 9 months old and the handler must have had it for six months before putting it to work. It must be healthy and well groomed. Be up to date with its vaccinations, worm and flea treatment.

Any breed or cross breed dog can be used, but dogs who are Raw Fed are declined.

It is £19 per annum to register with the charity.

Winnie Cameron thanked Jenny for her enlightening talk, which everyone enjoyed as well as enjoying lots of lovely cuddles with Finlay

Honiton Carers celebrated two birthdays at their meeting,  Stella Ford and Sally Church, everyone wished them an Happy Birthday and Don Mitchell presented them with a lovely Chocolate cake with lit candles. The group sang Happy birthday and the girls cut the cake and shared it around. The cake was delicious and very much appreciated by all.

As there was a little time left everyone joined in with a taster session of Seated Exercises instructed by Winnie who trained as a Seated Exercise instructor with Age UK through Honiton Memory Cafe. This was well received and encouraged a lot of laughter and great fun. Definitely to be repeated.

For further information about Honiton Carers Support Group please contact Winnie Cameron on winniekjaer@btinternet.com or 07974636926

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