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The Mayhew Animal Home


TheraPaws Helping animals and their carers since 1886™

The Mayhew Animal Home and Humane Education Centre

TheraPaws is a community initiative delivered by The Mayhew Animal Home. We recognise the benefits of taking animals into the care setting to engage with elderly service users, encouraging social interaction to promote emotional and physical wellbeing. With a dedicated team of volunteers, kittens and dogs, we visit a wide range of care homes, residential facilities and community centres.

How does TheraPaws work? TheraPaws is a completely bespoke service which can be tailored to the needs of the individual care centre and service user environment. Visits are typically once every two weeks, depending on the requirements of the centre, with an individual or pair of volunteers arriving with a four legged friend! We strive to ensure our volunteers work with the same centre each time as it enables service users to build up a trust and rapport with the volunteers.

In order to keep the visits fresh and interesting our volunteers visit service centres with a mixture of animals, from 12-week old kittens ready for adoption to dogs awaiting new homes. We usually visit with one dog or a pair of kittens each time and all our animals are assessed to ensure they have a calm and suitable disposition in such environments. We collect feedback from every visit to ensure we provide the best service possible and meet the individual needs of both care centre residents and staff.

“The whole morning is brightened up when you come here with the animals.” Care assistant

What are the benefits? Social interaction: Despite being surrounded by people, many service users can become socially withdrawn, even depressed, with their ability and desire to develop new relationships slowly fading. A visit from a TheraPaws’ animal is often an important part of a resident’s week and can strike a focus for discussion and interaction. Emotional and physical well-being: Research has shown that animals can increase well-being and healing for humans through their relational benefits, stress reduction and playfulness, affection and comfort.

Unlocking memories and emotions: Many of the service users we visit suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s. By taking animals into the care setting our visits can unlock emotions and provide the much needed companionship that enriches someone’s day. Residents will often recollect memories of their own pets and want to actively engage in conversation. Building relationships: The structure of the TheraPaws programme allows our volunteers to build a relationship with the care centre residents and staff alike. We have found that everyone involved looks forward to the visits as time can be dedicated to engaging in conversation and getting to know one another.

How frequently do visits take place? Our visits normally take place bi-weekly but can be as often or as little as appropriate, with each visit lasting between 1–1 ½ hours. When and where possible, we encourage visits to take place on a regular basis as this allows everybody involved to build a relationship. our animals We have a wide range of four legged friends who are always happy to go on a TheraPaws outing! Our volunteers usually take either one dog or a pair of kittens and rotate this each time so that service users get to meet a range of animals and continue to look forward to our visits.

All of the animals enjoy the interaction and are closely assessed to ensure they are calm and well-behaved in such environments. Our volunteers We would not be able to run our TheraPaws programme without our dedicated team of volunteers, all of whom receive ongoing training and support and understand the challenges relating to dementia and Alzheimer’s. Many members of the team also have a background in a social care, nursing or psychiatry setting. How much does it cost? TheraPaws is a completely free service. Our work is partly funded by City Bridge Trust and Pet Plan.

TheraPaws has gained both local and national recognition… Our work has featured in: – The Independent, September 2013 – BBC Inside Out – Real People magazine, who awarded us ‘Community Project of the Year 2012 – Kilburn Times

“I had a stroke and I’m working with an Occupational Therapist. The little kitten is helping me with my coordination.” Service user

Find out more For further information about our TheraPaws programme, please contact: Stephanie Hall, Animal Visits Coordinator at The Mayhew Animal Home, Trenmar Gardens, Kensal Green, London NW10 6BJ. Telephone: 020 8962 8004 Email: or visit our website therapaws

The Mayhew Animal Home TheraPaws is just one of the many community initiatives delivered by The Mayhew Animal Home. Established in 1886, we are one of the most effective animal welfare charities in London and rely entirely on public donations. Our vision is to help animals in need gain a better quality of life by delivering a broad range of community-based animal care, education and welfare projects.

“It’s soothing you know, not only for the cat but the grown up as well.” Resident

“First the Mayhew rescues the animals. Then the charity sends them out to help rescue the memories of residents at the capital’s care homes.” Independent, September 2013

The Mayhew Animal Home Trenmar Gardens  Kensal Green  London NW10 6BJ Telephone: 020 8962 8000 Email:Mayhew The Animal Home and Humane Education Centre

Registered charity no. 1077588 Company limited by guarantee no. 3837732 Photography:

The Mayhew Animal Home - TheraPaws  
The Mayhew Animal Home - TheraPaws  

TheraPaws is a community initiative delivered by The Mayhew Animal Home. We recognise the benefits of taking animals into the care setting t...