The wellbeing team in Alton consisting of a dog, two rabbits and a tank of fish!

Resident from The Lawn care home sat with Tank the dog

There is a surprising thing that a dog named Tank, two rabbits and shoal of fish have in common – they all are improving the wellbeing of residents living at our Alton care home!

Our Wellbeing Team at The Lawn care home in Alton, Hampshire, has been encouraging residents to care for and interact with a range of animals. This includes a friendly and loveable French Bulldog called Tank, two rabbits named Snowy and Rudy, and a shoal of colourful fish.

Staff and resident feeding the fishSince residents have got to the know, look after and play with the animals, staff have noticed a positive impact and improved sense of cheerfulness and pleasure. Snowy, Rudy and the fish live at the care home, with Tank, the care home manager’s dog, visiting most days.

Snowy and Rudy got their names after arriving at The Lawns on Christmas Eve, and have really settled in well. They enjoy all the attention and cuddles they get each day from the residents.

Triinu Org, manager at The Lawn, said: “Our residents really enjoy seeing Tank doing his rounds in the morning. He really cheers people up and is such a big part of the Team. The two rabbits have also become a favourite with everyone. When the sun is out, many of our residents enjoy seeing the pair run around in their outdoor hutch.”

The opportunity to be able to stroke, pat or cuddle a pet can have positive health effects. This can include lower blood pressure, normal heart rate and reduced stress levels. At the same time it can increase social interaction and physical activity. This is because Tank, Snowy, Rudy and the fish give the residents an additional reason to gather, chat and have fun.

A resident feeding a white and brown rabbit

Speaking about the two rabbits, one resident said: “Snowy and Rudy are wonderful! They are so lovely and soft. I feel calm when I am stroking them.”

By interacting with the care home’s animals, it brings back happy memories of previous pets. This has a positive effect by unlocking memories for those living with Dementia and Alzheimers. In addition, the soothing nature of a pet has been known to increase levels of Oxytocin, the stress-reducing hormone. It also decreases the production of cortisol, a producer of stress.

Triinu added: “It really is wonderful to see the difference the animals are making to our resident’s wellbeing. Even the fish are helping! Residents love watching them and helping staff feed them each day has elevated the mood and encouraged movement.”

Our well-trained and compassionate team are specialists in providing residential, respite and dementia care and pride themselves on making The Lawn feel like home. Find out more and book a visit by calling 01420 841 62 or emailing enquiries@fote.org.uk.