TheraPaws Visit the National Theatre for Mental Health Awareness Week

(Mayhew Press Release) As part of Mental Health Awareness Week (8th to 14th May 2017), The Mayhew Animal Home has teamed up with the National Theatre to raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing issues with a visit from our gorgeous TheraPaws dogs.

TheraPaws dogs are a part of The Mayhew’s animal therapy visiting programme, which recognises the mutual benefits of animals engaging with people, particularly older people with dementia, to help reduce stress, anxiety, social isolation, and improve the relationships between humans and dogs.

Across 11 different London boroughs, including Westminster, Brent, and Kensington and Chelsea, The Mayhew’s dedicated TheraPaws volunteers and their canine friends regularly visit palliative care centres, hospices, and hospitals. Currently, they have 62 volunteers and 52 dogs devoting their time to the scheme.

This time TheraPaws volunteers Ilonka Scaman with her dog BenJecky, Helen Liu with her dog Java, Kelly Scarrott with her dog Winston and Peter Waldman with his dog Toby (pictured) were kindly invited to spend time meeting employees working at the National Theatre on the South Bank of the Thames in London on Friday 12th May.

The theatre stages up to 30 productions each year, ranging from classics to modern masterpieces and new work by contemporary writers and theatre-makers.

But when they arrived at the theatre the attention and limelight was firmly on our star TheraPaws dogs and they were quickly lavished with praise, cuddles and tons of love from a variety of different people.

Phoebe Pickard, HR Advisor at the National Theatre, said: “The Mayhew’s TheraPaws programme is a great initiative and great way for us to raise awareness of Mental Health Awareness Week. As well as being a welcome distraction from our everyday busy lives, dogs have the ability to lower stress levels and boost office morale.”

Luke Berman, TheraPaws Project Manager, added: “It was a fantastic day and our volunteers and their dogs really enjoyed interacting with so many different people. From the look on people’s faces when they were talking, cuddling, and stroking the dogs, it is clear to see that our furry friends brought a lot of happiness and delight to their day.

“Our TheraPaws programme is a great way to promote and raise awareness of mental health. As well as enhancing people’s lives by helping to reduce social isolation, stress and unlocking memories and emotions, the initiative also helps animals by raising awareness of the positive effects dogs can have, including promoting respect and compassion towards animals.”

With the visit declared a success, the TheraPaws volunteers and their canine friends could go home for a well-deserved rest after that outstanding performance.

To find out more about TheraPaws, please visit The Mayhew’s website or call 020 8962 8004. They rely entirely on generous donations from the public and don’t receive any lottery or government funding. To donate, please click here.

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