An adorable Pekingese cross who was given a fresh start in life through Battersea Dogs & Cats Home is now helping (human) patients in therapy.
Seven-year-old Max was gifted to Battersea in 2012 as his owners were no longer able to care for him.
It didn’t take Max long to attract the attention of John Webber from Finsbury Park who visited Battersea 10 days later and seeing Max looking quite forlorn, knew he had to offer him a home.
Now three years on, the pair volunteer with animal assisted therapy to help stroke patients.
John said: “Earlier this year I took Max to the Royal Hospital Chelsea on one of the home’s monthly visits with dogs.
“I saw how pleased the Chelsea Pensioners were to see Max and I knew we could do more to help others.
“I like to feel I’m doing something useful with my life and Max enjoys the fuss,” John explained.
John and Max now volunteer for the national charity Pets As Therapy and work with qualified staff to support patients in the Stroke Rehab Dogs project.
“Max acts as an incentive for the patient to learn.
“If they are struggling with speech and then they say the word ‘sit’, for example, when Max does the action it acts as a reward.”
Max has also been helping students to build their confidence in reading, as he can sit and listen without passing judgment if they struggle.
John said: “Since re-homing Max from Battersea he has brought so much happiness to my life and I’m so pleased he can now give back and help others through Pets As Therapy.
“It’s inspiring to see people overcome difficulties with the help of dogs.”