Dogs bring smiles to nursing home residents

Orange Valley Nursing Home resident Tan Ah Kwan, 88, playing with Coco, a schnauzer, carried by Ms Sumathi Shanmugam. Coco was one of eight therapy dogs that visited the home on Thursday with SPH staff volunteers.
Orange Valley Nursing Home resident Tan Ah Kwan, 88, playing with Coco, a schnauzer, carried by Ms Sumathi Shanmugam. Coco was one of eight therapy dogs that visited the home on Thursday with SPH staff volunteers.ST PHOTOS: LEE JIA WEN
Therapy Dogs Singapore member Patricia Tan (left) coaxing Madam Wong Ah Leng, 90, to pat Rhema, a labradoodle.
Therapy Dogs Singapore member Patricia Tan (left) coaxing Madam Wong Ah Leng, 90, to pat Rhema, a labradoodle.

Residents of Orange Valley Nursing Home got a chance to hang out with some furry friends.

Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), which owns the nursing home in Clementi, had organised a dog therapy session for 20 residents on Thursday afternoon.

During the hour-long session, the residents played with the dogs under the supervision of 10 staff volunteers from SPH Staff Volunteers Club.

They patted the eight dogs and played the game of fetch, where they threw objects for the canines to retrieve.

The session was conducted with the support of Therapy Dogs Singapore (TDS), a non-profit body that has 118 volunteers and 120 therapy dogs.

TDS president Jun Sochi said the organisation, which was started by a group of dog owners in 2004, has been visiting nursing homes and other institutions over the past 14 years, bringing cheer and companionship to the residents.

"Pet-assisted activities and therapy are being recognised more and more around the world for the positive impact they bring to the lives of many people, from children and the elderly to those with disabilities," said Mr Sochi.

SPH's head of corporate communications and corporate social responsibility Chin Soo Fang said the therapy session was inspired by a cat therapy session that the club organised in 2015 for patients at Ang Mo Kio-Thye Hua Kwan Hospital.

Fabian Koh

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 28, 2018, with the headline 'Dogs bring smiles to nursing home residents'. Print Edition | Subscribe