Rescued robot therapy dog finds new owner at nursing home in Sheffield

Meet Sandy, the newest resident at Woodland View nursing home, Norton, Sheffield. 

Sandy is a therapy dog who is bringing comfort and joy to his new owner, an animal loving resident at Woodland View who has dementia.

Many of the residents at Woodland View have dementia and have kept pets in the past. For hygiene reasons it is not possible to keep pets in a nursing home environment, so the support team have found a new way for residents to experience the benefits of pet keeping without the mess and dog walking requirements.

Sandy has been named by his new owner, he is a battery powered, life like therapy dog.

Becky Barber, clinical manager at Woodland View said: “Sandy has brought true happiness to our service users.

“We have a resident who can be a bit tricky to get into therapeutic activities, but we knew she loved animals and in particular dogs. So, when Sandy was donated to us by another nurse here at Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, we jumped at the chance to give him a new home.

“Sandy is shown off by his new owner to all the staff, he goes everywhere with her and even sits beside her whilst she has her meals. He has become a true companion.”

The Alzheimer’s Society says that interaction with animals can often improve self-esteem and confidence in people with dementia. It can also promote quality of life and encourage independence. Robot therapy animals can help improve motor skills and help people with dementia to interact socially.

The team at Woodland View are striving to give the very best care to residents and make their time as much like home as possible. Having pets, even if they are battery powered, is just one of the ways the team are doing this. 

Robotic dogs as therapy pets are at the cutting edge of dementia care. Clinical studies have found that introducing robotic dogs like Sandy to care homes have had a positive effect on the mood of residents, and that’s exactly what staff at Woodland View have observed too.