Doggy duo bringing joy to residents
22 February 2012
Posted in News
THINK of St Bernard dogs and the chances are you will picture them with little barrels of brandy saving lives on snowy slopes.
You're far less likely to imagine them making friends with the old folk in a residential care home.
Yet that is what's happening in a home in Pontardawe, where two gentle giants are brightening up the lives of residents with Alzheimer's disease.
Bruno and Rosie belong to Melanie Davies, the founder of Treat Trust Wales, whose mum Margaret lives at the Danybryn Residential Care Home in Brecon Road.
Every week Mel and husband Mike load up the dogs into the truck and drive them from their Gellinudd home to pay their regular visit.
"As a family we have always had dogs," said Melanie. "One day we had the two dogs with us and I mentioned to my mum that they were in the car park.
"My mother and the staff thought it would be nice if we could bring them in. As soon as my mum saw them she started smiling.
"All the other ladies in the unit really took to them too. They were thrilled.
"To see one St Bernard is unusual enough but when they saw two it really stimulated them.
"All of a sudden the ladies started asking questions — how old the dogs were, how much they weighed, how much they ate.
"It really brought them out of themselves and now we take the dogs there every week to see them."
Bruno weighs in at almost 13 stone while Rosie is 11.5 stone, but they're always on their best behaviour.
"They're really soft and gentle," said Melanie. "They go up to the ladies and give them kisses."
Manager Tracey Bennett said: "You can see the excitement and enjoyment whenever the dogs are here.
"One of the residents has even been on the floor, playing with them.
"It's really nice for the residents. It's so homely having a pet and we are grateful to Melanie and Mike for bringing them here."
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