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Delight of care home residents as dog Henry delivers letters from children

Care home residents delighted as adorable dog Henry delivers kids' lockdown missives

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Rescue dog, Henry 'Wee Wheels' delivers letters written by P7 Moira Primary School pupils to manager Jisha Jacob and staff members for the residents at Laganvale Care Home, Moira.

Rescue dog, Henry 'Wee Wheels' delivers letters written by P7 Moira Primary School pupils to manager Jisha Jacob and staff members for the residents at Laganvale Care Home, Moira.

Rescue dog, Henry 'Wee Wheels' delivers letters written by P7 Moira Primary School pupils to manager Jisha Jacob and staff members for the residents at Laganvale Care Home, Moira.

Lockdown letters written by a class of year seven children and paw-delivered by lovable dog Henry have brought smiles to the faces of elderly care home residents.

Working from home, pupils at Moira Primary School wrote letters about their lockdown experiences, what they're doing and what they hope to achieve.

Earlier this week, to the delight of staff and residents, Henry and his 'manager' Sharon Warnock delivered them to Laganvale Nursing Home, with more copies being handed out to local pensioners self-isolating in their homes.

"We handed the letters around on Thursday morning after breakfast," said nursing home entertainment manager Pauline Ogle.

"The residents really enjoyed them - they definitely brought a few smiles and a laugh.

"We'll have to see if anyone would like to write back to the pupils. They're going to do us some pictures for downstairs. It will be really great to have some colour on the walls. Hopefully, when this ends, Henry can come in to see the residents. They love dog therapy."

Henry was close to death when he was rescued from Shanghai in 2018 by the Harbin Slaughterhouse Survivors charity. Since being adopted by Sharon, he has come on leaps and bounds and is now a registered therapy dog with Underdog International.

"We go around various schools, care homes and youth groups and give talks about all different topics, but one school we work with in particular is Moira Primary School, where they have a programme where Henry helps some of the pupils who need to gain more confidence with their numeracy," Sharon said.

"Ordinarily, Henry would go in maybe a couple of times a month and the children have just seemed to connect with him - he just brings joy."

In the letters, which were sprayed with disinfectant and left sitting for three days after they were printed to ensure there was no risk of contamination, the children talk about their lockdown lives and what they've been getting up to.

One pupil says home-schooling is "not too bad" while another tells how he has been practising ploughing in a vintage Massey Ferguson tractor.

School vice-principal Shirley King said it was crucial to teach children about supporting vulnerable people.

"With communities so closed up at the moment, it's important to do something to show the younger members of the community how they reach out," she said.

"Using Google Classroom, we set the pupils the task of writing to an elderly member of the community and local churches gave us the names of some who might enjoy a letter.

"For instance, Sharon and Henry delivered one to a 91-year-old gentleman who was absolutely delighted that a child in the community wanted to write to him.

"One of the children was really proud and told me, 'I'm just glad to be able to help someone in the lockdown'."

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Belfast Telegraph