A TINY little dog is capturing the hearts of the residents in a Bangor care home.

Murphy, the miniature dachshund, has been a much loved addition at Clandeboye Care Home since he joined the team in January last year.

Owned by home manager, Laura Patterson, Murphy is not only a cuddly addition to the lives of the residents, he plays a key role in improving their quality of life.

Clandeboye care home specialises in dementia care and the use of pets as an emotional support for those living with the illness has been shown to alleviate anxiety, distress, depression, and loneliness.

Laura says Murphy has become a welcomed member of the team and all the residents simply adore him.

“We have seen a change in some of the resident’s mood when he is around, they often ask about Murphy and ask for cuddles, kisses and hugs. He is a very good boy and loves to share his cuddles with everyone,” said Laura.

“Many of our residents have come into the care home and their own pets have had to be rehomed with their relatives or friends,” she added. “The feeling of the loss of a beloved pet can be devastating for people and having Murphy here has helped some of our residents feel that joy that can only come from the love of a puppy.”

Laura says it is not just the residents who have been benefiting from some puppy therapy, the staff also adore him.

“We have had lots of people coming to ask about meeting Murphy, including the community dentists, speech and language therapists, GPs, paramedics and even our local Amazon delivery driver,” she said.

And children are also getting their bit of Murphy therapy – P3 class from St Malachy’s Primary School have adopted him as their official mascot.

“Everyone loves to stop for a cuddle and a quick photo with Murphy, he is definitely becoming a bit of a Clandeboye celebrity,” said Laura.

Research has also shown that having therapy dogs can increase staff mental health and wellbeing, as well as an improved atmosphere within the care home environment.

“We have seen a marked improvement in atmosphere within the home since Murphy arrived,” said Laura.

“He has helped open lines of communication and brings a smile to everyone’s face when they see him. Dogs have a way of finding the people who need them and filling the empties we didn’t ever know we had and Murphy has done just that for us all here in Clandeboye care home,” she added.