They sit alone in their chairs not uttering a word for hours or even days on end.

Then in walks Brian and Janet Metson and their family of four dogs and for the first time in a week there’s a reason for dementia patients to smile.

Clover, Lilly, Teasel and Dotty are pet therapy dogs who have been bringing hope and joy to elderly people with Alzheimers across the patch for four years.

Pet therapy co-ordinators Brian and Janet, who live in very apt Petworth Close, Great Notley, say they get just as much joy out of what they do as the patients they visit every week.

Full feature in this week's Times.