29th April 2019

With her glossy black and white coat, wagging tail and bright eyes; Molly is one of Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust more unusual volunteers. For the past three years the eight-year-old Border collie has been a therapy dog at the Frank Lloyd Unit in Sittingbourne, which supports older people with mental health problems and specialises in dementia.

Dementia often causes difficulties with communication loss and isolation. Therapy dogs provide affection and comfort to people in settings, such as care homes and can help to reduce feelings of isolation. Companion animals have been an important part of many residents lives and being with Molly can often stir memories, which can lead to powerful conversations with members of staff.

Sarah, Molly’s owner, speaks proudly about the strong bonds Molly has made with residents. For example, one of the residents finds it hard to engage with other patients or staff, but loves Molly and her face will light up whenever she sees her.

When the wife of a new patient was very anxious about visiting the Frank Lloyd Unit for the first time, Molly sensed her anxiety and reassured her so much that now whenever she visits her husband, the lady will also bring gifts for Molly.

Molly brings fun, companionship and stimulation to residents. With Molly you don’t need to speak to be understood and many of our residents get joy from just brushing or stroking her fur. Molly is a real character and gets involved with Christmas parties where she wears her reindeer antlers! We are lucky to work with Molly, but equally Molly really enjoys her time with our residents and staff. The Frank Lloyd Unit is her second home.

“We were absolutely thrilled to have been nominated for the UHAs! Molly was treated as if she was a real celebrity, everyone wanted their photos taken with her and throughout the evening she stole the show, the venue was beautiful” – Sarah Wale, owner of Molly the Therapy Dog.