A lot can happen in 12 months and one popular therapy assistant canine will soon paws for thought and reflect on a busy year at a Banchory care home and retirement community. In 2010, bulldog pup Humphrey began work as a therapy assistant for residents at Inchmarlo Care Home and Retirement Community in Banchory.
Humphrey was recruited to offer companionship for residents and it didn’t take long for the energetic pup to become a firm favourite during his rounds. “Humphrey has quite simply been a revelation,” said Charles Skene, chairman of the Skene Group, which owns and operates the Inchmarlo Community. “He has been a big hit with many of our residents who cannot wait to see him again and again.
“Humphrey offers comfort, companionship and friendship to those who sometimes cannot express themselves due to communication difficulties or illness. He has a fantastic ability to make people smile and it can be a very effective treatment.”
Those residents in particular with limited cognitive skills can’t help smiling as Humphrey eagerly greets them. When he started at Inchmarlo, Humphrey launched his own online blog where residents and fans from around the world could read about his progress: http://inchmarlo.wordpress.com
In the last year, Humphrey has heard from admirers as far afield as the US, Hong Kong and Thailand as a result of his online posts.
The popular blog is regularly updated and posts have recorded Humphrey’s celebration of the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton as well as a recent and embarrassing visit to the vets.
However, Humphrey has also shown a quirky side to his character via his blog by refusing to go on walks and often hiding behind bushes and flowers to avoid putting on the dreaded lead.
“When it first happened we wondered where Humphrey had gone,” Mr Skene said. “It was only after a bit of searching we realised he was under our noses all along; he is really good at playing hide and seek!
“But regardless of his reluctance to go for walks, Humphrey is proving to be a big success story for us and the introduction of a therapy assistant (canine) into the community is one of the many innovative services we have introduced to offer the highest possible standard of care and service to our residents.“
When the community opened in 1986, Inchmarlo pioneered a new way of retirement living in the UK. The Skene Group continues to innovate and in recent years services like Humphrey the therapy assistant and meals cooked to Michelin star restaurant recipes have been introduced.
The community is a purpose-built collection of retirement homes and care facilities on a 100 acre Estate on Royal Deeside, and was the first of its kind to open in Scotland and was one of the first in the UK in more than 100 years.