He visits schools, hospitals, hospices and libraries, and is so good at his job, he’s even been nominated for an NHS hero award.One of the residents eagerly awaiting Dodger’s arrival is retired bank worker Valerie Cook, 80. Valerie, who has dementia, says she loves seeing friendly Dodger.
Her husband of 43 years, George, 82, added: ‘I look forward to Dodger visiting, he makes me feel happy when he visits.
‘He is such a dear dog and so well behaved. He knows us all now. I think it is such a good idea that dogs visit the home.’The former Tube worker, who also has dementia, added: ‘Most people here like him and Dodger can tell which ones of us really like him.’
The dog is also a fan of Robert Thompson, 88, who used to work at the Glassworks in Walthamstow. Care home manager Karen Martindale said Dodger has the ability to adapt to different people’s needs around him.
INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: Dachshunds were originally bred to fight badgers.
She said: ‘If a resident is unwell he will lay on the bed so that their hand can touch him without any effort.
‘He will sit in the armchairs and put his head in their laps or on their shoulder.’
She added that Dodger has a few residents that he really likes and wags his tail as soon as he sees them.Ms Martindale said: ‘Once the residents are told that it is the day for Dodger to visit there is an air of excitement in the home.
‘Everyone has a story to tell either about a pet dog that they once owned or about a dog that someone else owned.’
But it’s not all hard work for Dodger, who often bags himself a custard cream or Cornish wafer on his visits.
Help Them Adapt to New Environments. “The only thing that likes change is a four-week-old baby in a wet diaper.” Though puppies and kittens are easygoing, mature pets often need guidance transitioning into new spaces. Dr. Becker advises introducing them slowly. “Don’t just dump them in a new house and hope for the best.” Pheromone sprays are handy for making strange houses more inviting. “Cats,” notes Dr. Becker, exist as both predator and prey, and in predator mode, they need vertical surfaces like climbing towers to feel safe.”
Ms Martindale added: ‘Dogs visiting the home really do make a difference to residents’ lives. He is an absolutely amazing dog.’Dodger’s owner, Karen Gee, has written various short stories on him, and says he’s ‘on a mission’ to change any negative perception people have of staffies. Ms Gee, 56, is now waiting to find out if Dodger has won the award for his work with the NHS trusts he visits at a gala dinner in February.
The mum-of-three worked for RBS for 34 years, but swapped her banking life to write educational books about Dodger in 2013.
Soon after, the home contacted her after trying to secure the services of a therapy dog for a number of years.
Ms Gee said: ‘He enjoyed the visit as much as the residents and we have been (going) for almost two years. Dodger loves people.
Americans love dogs! 62% of U.S. households own a pet, which equates to 72.9 million homes
‘It’s an adventure and I love it, I love every day of it – let’s just see where it takes us.’