Frankie, the friendly Bichon Frise, is a registered Pets As Therapy (PAT) dog, and has been busy working at Westbank Care Home, once a week.

  • Rebecca Relf
  • November 14th, 2017
  • Westbank

A little Bichon Frise dog has stolen the hearts of the residents at Westbank Care Home, in Borough Green. Frankie, who is 5 years old, is a registered Pets As Therapy (PAT) dog, which means his wonderful temperament can be enjoyed by all, especially in a care home environment.

Eileen and Frankie enjoying a cuddle.

PAT is a humanitarian charity whose volunteers provide community based Animal Assisted Therapy across the whole of the UK. Research shows that cuddling up to a pet can reduce stress and anxiety, improving mental health, and lower blood pressure.

Dawn Branch, who is an Activities Coordinator at Westbank Care Home, brings Frankie to work with her every Saturday, to spend time with the residents. He socialises with everyone in the living area and also visits those who are too unwell to leave their bedroom, on a one-to-one basis.

Dawn says, “He’s such a gentle character, he will quite happily sit with a resident for cuddles and fuss. He especially enjoys his tummy being rubbed!”

“He’s not only a firm favourite with the residents, the staff love him too. I’m often asked when he’s due to come in to work.”

Frankie, the Bichon Frise, works once a week at Westbank Care Home.

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Frankie undertook an assessment to become a registered PAT dog, and was judged on his nature, obedience and general approach to strangers. He had to sit, listen, take food gently and come to his name. Frankie passed with flying colours 3 years ago and hasn’t looked back since.

Dawn commented, “This is truly one of the best things I’ve done. It’s not only fun, Frankie relishes the attention, and ultimately it’s rewarding to see the happiness he spreads throughout the home. He definitely makes Westbank feel more homely.”