(Trish Parkes – Manager): Aras Mhuire Nursing home is a registered charity that was founded in Listowel in 1971. It is home to 38 adults over the age of 18. Daily life in the home includes regular visits from crèches, schools and a number of dancing and music groups. In 2015 we spotted a deficit in the home. We noticed that some residents did not have any family or friends left to visit them. Who would give them a hug when they needed it? Who would be happy to see these residents when they got up in the morning, who could they go for a walk with when they simply want to get away from it all.
I sent my cousin Claire on a mission. For most of her adult life Claire has rescued numerous dogs and loved them as her own. Very soon she brought, Peggy, our beautiful greyhound to come and live with us. We immediately saw the benefits. On her first night in the home she introduced herself to James. James has lived in the home for 17 years. That night she bed down beside James bed and remained there until she retired last week. James is the Chairperson of our residents committee and Peggy became his assistant. Mary B Keane, RIP, one of our founding members, heard about our new arrival and came to see what the fuss was about. Instantly she approved. Claire and I are of the Listowel Browne family. Sure where would you find a Browne without a greyhound.” Mary said. Peggy became our beloved 39th resident, our co worker and our friend. Over and over again she intuitively knew who needed her the most. She has been best friend to a resident who spent most of her final months awake by night and howled and cried the night this lady died. She welcomed new residents to the home and helped them combat that initial fear and anxiety that comes with moving homes. She simply lay her head on the lap of people who just needed to feel the warmth of love. A consultant noted in a persons medical notes the positive effect that Peggy had on this gentleman’s severe anxiety. Residents who can no longer remember our names still called Peggy, by name, to give her a hug. We know that therapy dogs help healing through the release of hormones like dopamine and beta-endorphin but Peggy did more than this, Peggy became a friend. She was there day and night and her love was unconditional.
Peggy is about 12 years old now and now is her turn to be spoiled. Peggy retired before Christmas and has moved in with Agata. A carer who has loved her since her arrival at Aras Mhuire.
And so now a new chapter begins. Again Claire has done her magic and we welcomed a new Peggy who has come all the way from Waterford. Also a black greyhound and is about 6 year old full of the curiosity of youth. On her first night she sat in the chair beside James and spent the night there. A gentleman who was recently admitted has just lost his 14 year old dog and guess who has become his best friend!!