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Bernard Sunley Residents Give Jazz a Round of A-Paws

Care Home Residents Have A Paws-itively Great Time Celebrating National I Love My Pet Day

At Bernard Sunley, the Woking-based residential, nursing and dementia care home run by charity Friends of the Elderly, Jazz – the care home’s furry, four-legged honorary care team member – has been enjoying a ‘paw-some’ time celebrating National I Love My Pet Day with the residents and care team.

Jazz, a very cute Miniature Labradoodle, has been a ‘paw-manent’ feature at Bernard Sunley for nearly six years. “Jazz has been coming to work with me since she was a puppy,” said Andy Cumper, her owner and the Registered Manager at Bernard Sunley. 

Jazz is a ‘bone-ified’ member of the Bernard Sunley care team – and even has her own daily sessions on the care home’s wide and varied activities calendar. “Jazz is so popular with all the residents, we make sure she has lots of time to visit and interact with them all,” said Monika Ahmed, the Activities Coordinator at Bernard Sunley. “Jazz will spend time with residents in the Lounge areas, playing games, chasing her favourite tennis ball, having cuddles and getting her ears rubbed; and will also spend one-to-one time with residents in their rooms.

“For the elderly, interacting with pets is important as it can help to reduce stress and lower blood pressure. Playing and engaging with an animal, such as Jazz, also increases social interactions and is a fun, gentle physical activity,” added Monika.

“Jazz loves all our residents, but I have a sneaking suspicion that her ‘best furr-friend’ is Betty Bunce,” continued Andy. “Betty is 93-years-old and has been a resident with us for nearly seven years. I’m pretty sure she has a secret stash of doggie treats in her room as Jazz is always on time for her daily visit.”

Jazz will be turning six in June, which means she is a Gemini Dog and, according to the canine star sign traits, Jazz is a Gemini ‘Su-paw-star.’ “Gemini pooches are playful, full of fun, curious, friendly and super smart – and Jazz definitely has all the Gemini doggie traits,” said Andy. “She’s a calm dog but has bundles of energy which comes out as soon as she’s with the residents playing games and chasing her favourite tennis ball. Jazz is extremely intelligent, fun-loving and kind; she keeps us on our toes – and puts a smile on each residents’ face as soon as they see her.

“Jazz shows how much she loves the residents in many ways. She’s always happy to see everyone, tilts her head when the residents are talking to her – so you know she’s listening to what they are saying – she loves following the Care Team around on her daily visits – and she’s more than willing to cosy up on a chair and sleep next to anyone who will let her,” added Andy.

“Our residents are always coming up with amazing stories, statistics and really interesting bits of trivia,” continued Andy. “Recently, when Jazz was on her daily rounds and playing with the residents in the Lounge, I was told some amazing facts. Firstly, that dogs were the first domesticated animal – a fact which dates back to The Stone Age and, secondly, where the term ‘Man’s Best Friend’ originates from. Evidently, the saying was first used by King Frederick II of Prussia who, before his death in 1786 said “The only, absolute and best friend a man has in this selfish world, the only one who will not betray or deny him, is his dog” – and that’s where the well known saying comes from. I’m always amazed at how much I learn from our residents, especially when it comes to Jazz and dog trivia,” concluded Andy.

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