The Mayhew Animal Home ambassador retires aged...13

Finn has retired

Finn has retired - Credit: Archant

One of the Mayhew Animal Home’s most prized therapists has retired at the age of 13.

Finn with her owner Caroline Ryan

Finn with her owner Caroline Ryan - Credit: Archant

Finn, a lively Staffie cross has dedicated four years helping older people through the animal charity’s TheraPaws initiative, from its base in Trenmar Gardens in Kensal Rise.

As part of the pet therapy programme Finn and his owner Caroline Ryan visited the elderly at Lawnfield House Care Home in Willesden and were joined by TheraPaws volunteer Annie Walker at St Mungo’s, a homelessness charity.

Ms Ryan applied to join the animal therapy programme because she wanted to enjoy Finn, who she rescued as a puppy, in the company of people who could benefit from his loving nature.

Having read up about the benefits of animal therapy, she saw how valuable TheraPaws is in terms of brightening people’s lives and giving them some respite from their cares and worries.

She said: “I really believe The Mayhew’s TheraPaws Project is just amazing as it enriches so many lives, the visited and the visitors alike. Contact with animals can bring so much simple, yet profound pleasure.”

The Mayhew’s TheraPaws programme recognises the mutual benefits of animals engaging with older people, particularly with dementia, improving relationships between humans and dogs.

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The initiative also helps animals by raising awareness of the positive effects dogs can have, including promoting respect and compassion towards animals.

Finn was excitable and bouncy on his first care home visit said his owner, though it only took a few more visits for her to master pacing him around vulnerable people. Soon his loving nature shined through as he would comfort distressed residents to help replace tears with cries of delight and giggles of joy.

Annie Walker, TheraPaws volunteer, said: “It’s been a marvellous four years. I have met some wonderful people and made some good friends. I hope to still be involved in some way, but Finn who has been the perfect TheraPaws dog is having a well-earned retirement.”

To find out more about TheraPaws visit or call 020 8962 8004.