A MAN'S best friend is providing welcome companionship for senior citizens at a day centre.
A dog called Bomber has become the unofficial mascot for Bank House Day Centre in St Edward Street, Leek.
The canine, who is the companion of 86-year-old Maurice Finch of Leek, now puts in an appearance at the centre each day from Monday to Friday.
And not only does the eight-month-old Chihuahua look forward to his visits, he's also bringing smiles to the faces of many of Bank House's elderly clients.
Mr Finch, whose career in the RAF inspired his pup's name, has been a friend of Bank House for many years and used to take his late wife to the centre.
He said: "Bomber travels in a special seat in my walker and, as soon as we get within three yards of the door, he's on his feet and full of excitement because he knows he always gets a treat."
Bank House manager Hazel Roberts, who is proud of the 'home from home' atmosphere she and her staff have created at the centre, said: "It's great to see Bomber arriving with Maurice as he really does go berserk and almost leaps out of his basket.
"He's a really intelligent little dog who knows all the clients and has his favourites.
"I think he's become our unofficial PAT (Pets as Therapy) dog because our elderly people absolutely adore him, especially the ones who used to have a dog themselves and can no longer cope with owning a pet.
"One of past members used to sit and cuddle Susie, Maurice's previous dog, and it really helped calm her down if ever she got agitated.
"Now he's training up Bomber to do exactly the same and it's great to see him here at the centre.
"I think Bomber has been good for Maurice too and he's helped him cope with the loss of his wife.
"It's great that he's prepared to share him with our elderly members here at Bank House."
Bank House is now open every weekday, including Bank Holidays, from 9am until 3pm and offers a free 'taster' session to allow older people to see for themselves the services that are on offer.
Please contact Hazel on 01538 383665 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about the day centre.