There were some very strong contenders for our Pet Friendly Care Home Awards, so it wasn’t easy to decide between the finalists who had been whittled down from over 1,250 care homes and retirement complexes throughout the UK. Well done to all of you on our register, and thank you for your care and compassion – between us we will keep owners and pets together.
And the winners were…
Pet Friendly Care Home of the Year 2018 – The Old Vicarage (Dorset)
The Old Vicarage was founded by Annie Sinnott MBE and her husband Ian, who were both passionate in their belief that owners and pets should be kept together. Although they have both since sadly passed away, their legacy lives on as The Old Vicarage remains a shining example of what a pet-friendly care home should be – where animals are not just an addition to the home, but very much part of the fabric of the place, and it has been home to many pets belonging to residents over the years.
Home Manager, Louise Turner said “Having pets in our home creates a lovely atmosphere, and promotes the well-being of our residents. I am very passionate about ensuring our care home is pet-friendly and I always encourage residents to bring their pets with them when they move in.
Having the award presented to us at The Old Vicarage itself, with all of the staff and residents able to share in it, was just lovely. It meant so much more to everyone as they were all involved and could hear for themselves why we had been chosen. The afternoon tea was such a treat, and the magician (Alex Robertson of Arc Magic) wowed us all! The pets really enjoyed their goody bags too. Thank you – it was a great afternoon”.
The award was presented to Louise by local vet, Dr Mark Newton-Clarke, who has helped to care for the pets at The Old Vicarage for many years.
Sheila Bagnall and her Daschund, Toggles, have lived here since 2010; Sheila said “Dogs are the most amazing creatures – they give unconditional love. Toggles is a great companion for me; she makes my life brighter and worth getting up for in the morning. Anne Higgins comes to The Old Vicarage each week for day care, and brings her dog, Sam with her. Anne told us “I love Sam – he is my best friend. Everyone here is so kind – when I do not feel up to taking Sam out for a walk, the staff do it for me”.
And second place goes to…
Runner-Up – Applewood Care Home (Hampshire)
Manager, Laura Hulett said “It has always been our philosophy to allow our residents to live life as they would have done at home, and often the thing that matters to them more than anything, is their pet – we will therefore do our utmost to accommodate the whole family at Applewood! We are very proud to have been recognised in this way, but I also feel that every home should offer what we do.” Applewood is home to Teddy – a Lhasa Apso/Shih Tzu cross who lives here with his owner Marjorie. Marjorie’s son, Paul Nicholson told us “When it became necessary for mum to move into a care home she had just recently moved out of a house she had been living in for over 50 years. She was very confused and upset and the ability to move into Applewood with Teddy gave her so much comfort and a valuable link to her previous life. If she had been forced to loose Teddy, I believe that would have been a step too far and she would never have settled the way she has done at Applewood.”
Janey Merrick, daughter of Jennye, who has recently moved into Applewood with her 2 cats – Marmite and Treacle said “My mum has been living with dementia for three years diagnosed. She has deteriorated significantly in the last six months and our family started looking at care options. We always thought if mum moved into a care home, her two cats would not be able to go with her. We were so relieved when we found Applewood – on my first phone call I asked about the cats moving with Mum – no hesitation – absolutely. All the team at Applewood get that pets are so good for all the residents, not least Mum. They have helped her settle and made Applewood more like home“.
Volunteer Jan Frances, who attended the tea party at Applewood Care Home, told us “I spent a very pleasant couple of hours at this most pet-friendly home, with singing from the lovely ‘Timeless’ girls (a local 40’s/50’s trio), a delicious cream tea, lots of chatting with residents, staff and relatives, as well as lots of dog-petting. The main lounge at Applewood overlooks a charming garden with pet rabbits, and chickens that I understand supply a few eggs. What a cosy, homely place!”
Local vet, Ken Dolan, who has a personal connection to Applewood, kindly presented the award.
And the winning retirement complex is…
Pet Friendly Retirement Housing of the Year 2018 – Bishops Court (Devon)
Set in the pretty village of Bishopsteinton – about 3 miles from the seaside resort of Teignmouth, Bishops Court is an idyllic retirement complex managed by Hanover Housing. With 8 dogs, 2 cats and 3 canaries living here happily with their owners, and an amazing sense of community amongst the residents which is nurtured by Estate Manager, Richard Moore, we can’t think of a better place to spend our retirement years!
On hearing of winning the award, Richard said “I was amazed when I took the job at the number of cherished pets we have living here, enhancing the day to day quality of life of the residents. The owners regularly exercise other dogs as well as their own and there is a daily ‘3 o’clock club’ which is open to anyone – dogs in tow or not, to take an amble around our beautiful village.
The residents of Bishops Court – many of whom were accompanied by their four-legged friends, enjoyed a wonderful afternoon tea at the local Cockhaven Arms where singing trio The Liberty Sisters and their beautiful terrier, Daisy, provided the entertainment with a range of 40’s and 50’s tunes. Sir Andrew Ridgway – Former Governor of Jersey, presented the award to Richard Moore who was overwhelmed following Sir Andrew’s poignant speech, in which he highlighted the importance of all that Richard does to support his residents with their pets. Resident, Mike, said ‘To have a manager here who loves animals is such a bonus – we don’t have to worry too much about Boz barking as Richard pops in and lets him out if he does – it’s great’. Sir Andrew and Lady Valerie also brought their Pomeranian Willl-O-Bee along to join the party!
Sandra, owner of Westie, Tarr, said ‘The tea party was amazing – we had such a wonderful afternoon with friends and dogs’. Brian said ’Although I couldn’t make the party, my cat Bramley loved his treat bag. I heard a noise in the night and found out the next morning he had broken into it and was eating the treats! He (and I) thank you so much’.
And second place goes to…
Runner-Up – Hanover House (Greater Manchester)
Estate Manager, Carol Hall said “I was delighted to receive the news that we have been chosen as Runner-Up for Pet Friendly Retirement Housing of the Year. The residents of Hanover House are passionate about their pets – animals make such a difference to their owners’ general outlook, health and well-being, and they help them to feel connected to the community, which is so important. Their pets give them a reason to leave the house and in doing so they meet other people and engage in conversation. Oliver the African Grey parrot is quite a celebrity in the local area and is very much loved by his owners Neville and Sylvia. Oliver is 27 years old and Neville says that living in accommodation that permits pet ownership is a big consideration for him because Oliver is very much part of the family. Another resident, Shirley, has a rescue dog called Oscar – Shirley says that since getting Oscar her health has improved and she has meaning and purpose in her life. Being the manager of an estate that is so supportive of pets, and animals in general, is very important to me and we are very pleased to have been acknowledged in this way – thank you!
The tea party was very successful and thoroughly enjoyed by all present. The residents were delighted with the gift bags for their pets and the event received a great deal of attention from local media. Thank you so much once again”.
Volunteer, Ian Field, who presented the award, said “I had terrific time at the tea party. There was a great appreciation for the manager Carol, for her dedication to the residents and their pets”.
If you would like to include your home or retirement complex on our Register, all you need to do is complete and return the simple registration form and we’ll be delighted to include you! Please contact Donna on 01736 757900, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for a form or for more information.