Meet Millie, Nugget and Dipper… some of the pets making a difference at a Timperley care home

By David Prior at

The remarkable therapeutic power of pets is brightening the lives of residents at an Altrincham care home.

King Charles spaniel Millie has become such a familiar face at Kingsley Healthcare-run Timperley Care Home that manager Louisa Olayiwola reckons she should have her own staff clock-in card.

Meanwhile, three hens – wickedly named Goujon, Nugget and Dipper – have been given the run of the gardens at the Mainwood Road home.

Ms Olayiwola said: “Millie is the pet of our maintenance man Dave Beresford and she is here whenever he is.

Dave Beresford, maintenance man at the Timperley care home, with one of the hens

Dave Beresford, maintenance man at the Timperley care home, with one of the hens

“Many of our residents have dementia which can cause them to become agitated at times. However, the presence of Millie has an amazing calming upset.”

Beresford added: “Millie enjoys her job here as much as me. The residents just love sitting with her and giving her a stroke.”

The power of hens to enhance the lives of elderly people with dementia has won increasing recognition by health professionals in recent years.

© Joel Goodman - 07973 332324 . 14/01/2016 . Timperley , UK . Kingsley Health Care location in Timperley , Greater Manchester . Photo credit : Joel Goodman

Care home manager Louisa Olayiwola with Millie and resident Samuel Robertson

Olayiwola said: “They have an extraordinary effect. If someone is agitated or upset, seeing a hen run past is enough to divert their attention and make them happy again.

“It might be that it brings back happy memories of chickens running around from their childhood days.”

The latest pets being introduced at the popular home, which is currently undergoing a five-bedroom extension to meet demand, are rabbits.

“Pets are an important ingredient in what makes this such a happy home,” she said.