Therapy dog is a best friend for Thetford home’s elderly residents

Mia the Therapy Dog visits Ford Place Care Home with Ann Jackson (correct spelling) so residents can

Mia the Therapy Dog visits Ford Place Care Home with Ann Jackson (correct spelling) so residents can spend time with the collie. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

For some, a friendly furry face is all that's needed to cheer them up when they're feeling blue.

Mia the Therapy Dog visits Ford Place Care Home with Ann Jackson (correct spelling) so residents can

Mia the Therapy Dog visits Ford Place Care Home with Ann Jackson (correct spelling) so residents can spend time with the collie. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

And it's the job of dogs like Mia to provide that much-needed lift.

The five-year-old collie is a therapy dog who makes weekly visits the Ford Place care home, in Thetford.

Her owner, Ann Jackson, has been a volunteer with pet therapy charity Canine Concern for many years.

She has been working with Mia for four yours, starting in Hampshire and continuing when the family moved to Norfolk around a year ago.

'Mia is a rescue dog and was ideal for the job,' said Ms Jackson.

'She's not too bouncy, and with elderly people you cannot have a dog who is jumping about. She's very calm.'

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'When we go in to see the residents in Ford Place Mia gets a fuss. For those who are in bed but she puts her paws up so they can still stroke her.

'It's nice for them, because before they go into a home like this, if they've had pets of their own, they have not been able to take them with them.

'Once you've had animals you always love them. To be able to bring one in is calming for them and it's nice therapy.'

Canine Concern has a similar mission of objective as Pets As Therapy – using animals as a therapeutic influence.

The charity is based in Somerset, with people all over the country who register themselves and their dogs as Canine Concern volunteers.

Ms Jackson is one of around three volunteers in Norfolk, but coverage varies from county to county.

Recently she and Mia paid a visit to Lord Walsingham Court, a day centre for the elderly in Thetford.

'Mia is used to one-on-one sessions. At the centre there were a lot of people and a lot of noise, and collies are very sensitive to noise,' Ms Jackson said.

Do you have any experience with therapy animals? Email bethany,whymark@archant.co.uk

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