BESSIE and her owner Lady Scilla brought smiles to the faces of dementia patients and their carers at Wimborne’s newly-opened Memory Cafe.

The pair, who are volunteers for the charity Caring Canines, visited the group on Tuesday.

Lady Scilla Stuart-Paul said: “They were absolutely thrilled to have the dog there. Many of them have had dogs or just enjoy being with her.”

The 10-year-old golden labrador has been visiting schools, day centres, nursing homes, and hospitals with her owner for the past six years.The Memory Café which meets at Community Learning and Resource Centre in King Street on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month, was launched in February as part of the Wimborne Dementia Friendly Community Alliance.

The group provides a range of activities and support for patients and their carers.

“It’s for people with dementia and their carers,” said group facilitator Yvonne Rogers.

“The object is the carers get to meet with other carers and people with dementia get to do the same,” she added.

Ms Rogers said the dogs have a calming effect on people with dementia and are popular with her groups across the region.

“It gives them all a chance to meet and pet the dog. It’s a very calming situation,” she said.