THE health of care home residents is being boosted each week by a special four-legged guest.

Ellie the golden retriever has become a popular face at the Home Prince Edward Duke of Kent Court care home, in Stisted, ever since she first visited earlier this summer.

The six-year-old pooch visits the home each week with owners Roz and Jim Gage, of Therapy Dogs Nationwide, and goes from room to room to greet each resident.

Care home bosses say the visits have had a "profound" effect on residents, especially ones with dementia who are able to recount story's of dogs from their past.

Activities coordinator Dani Lane said: "“Ellie’s visits mean so much to our residents, she really lifts their spirits.

"They adore her and some of them definitely think of her as their dog. It’s fair to say that the effect of these regular visits on our residents’ mental health and wellbeing is quite profound.”

The idea of bringing Ellie to the home for weekly visits stems from research which shows having something to pet or touch can result in lower blood pressure, normal heart rate and reduced stress.

Owners Roz and Jim added: "It’s very satisfying to be able to bring Ellie to Prince Edward Duke of Kent Court and to witness the effect she has on the residents.

"She really is a special dog and we’re very proud of her."