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Guide dog scared of loud noises finds new role helping people with dementia

PUBLISHED: 11:38 25 February 2019 | UPDATED: 15:54 25 February 2019

PAT dog Izzy with Sam Mba and Eric Reeve. Pictures: Kingsley Healthcare

PAT dog Izzy with Sam Mba and Eric Reeve. Pictures: Kingsley Healthcare

Archant

Three-year-old Izzy who failed to become a guide dog because of her sensitivity to noise has found a new vocation helping care home residents living with dementia.

Jill Critien, left, with PAT dog Izzy and Oaklands resident Evelyn Wilme. Picture: Kingsley HealthcareJill Critien, left, with PAT dog Izzy and Oaklands resident Evelyn Wilme. Picture: Kingsley Healthcare

The golden retriever cross labrador has found her true vocation as a pet therapy dog – much to the delight of residents at Oaklands Care Home in Scole, near Diss.

Izzy’s owner Jill Critien, who lives in nearby Horham, and is a trained assessor for the PAT (Pets as Therapy) charity in Norfolk and Suffolk, said: “Izzy was not suited to being a guide dog because of sensitivity to noises such as car horns. But she loves the attention she gets when she comes here and residents love her just as much.”

Ian Warrent, manager at the Kingsley Healthcare run home, said: “Izzy has a remarkable calming effect on many of our residents who are living with dementia and she can really lift their mood. She also sparks happy memories for those residents who kept dogs earlier in their life. One of our ladies, Anne Peck, used to breed dogs and her face lights up when she sees Izzy.”

Mrs Critien, who has another qualified PAT dog, Merlin, a black Labrador cross retriever, also visits a hospice, schools and Wayland Prison as well as other care homes.

She said there was a shortage of PAT dogs in some areas and appealed for anyone interested in supporting the charity with their pet to contact her on 01379 384422.

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