London charity The Mayhew Animal Home teamed up with the National Theatre for Mental Health Awareness Week (8-14 May) in order to raise awareness of mental health – with the help of the TheraPaws dogs, stars of The Mayhew’s animal therapy visiting programme. These dogs have proven instrumental in reducing stress, anxiety and social isolation in vulnerable people, visiting care centres, hospital and hospices across London. There are currently 62 volunteers and 52 dogs who are part of this scheme.
On Friday 12 May, as part of their partnership with the National Theatre, 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 Tobi were invited to meet employees working at the National Theatre on the South Bank of the Thames in London. Only this time it was dogs, not actors, under the spotlight – and they loved all of the attention lavished on them!
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.”
TheraPaws Project Manager Luke Berman said, “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.”
You can get a peek of their outstanding performance below.
Images by The Mayhew Animal Home.