Battersea Dogs Home and Chelsea Pensioners join forces
The Chelsea Pensioners are to receive regular visits from the dogs of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in a new joint initiative.
Earlier, the south London charity welcomed the pensioners on site to meet its staff, volunteers and animals.
The Chelsea Pensioners, ex-British Army members, are based at a retirement home at the Royal Hospital, west London.
From March, the animal care charity will walk its dogs across the Thames River to spend time at the home.
The dogs home plans to create a programme of regular dog visits to provide companionship for the veterans in the Royal Hospital's grounds.
A number of carefully selected dogs will meet and socialise with Chelsea Pensioners, and trained dogs will visit the less able pensioners in their infirmary.
The pensioners will be invited into Battersea Dogs Home to volunteer for the charity.
'Labrador saved my life'
It hopes this new community partnership will enable the Chelsea Pensioners to get involved with the work of the charity.
Tom Metcalfe, 70, a former member of the Parachute Regiment, is the first Chelsea Pensioner volunteer dog-walker at Battersea.
"I love dogs. Always have," he said.
"When I was a baby, a Labrador saved my life by pushing my pram out of the way when a car veered up on to the pavement and now it's great to be able to give something back for these amazing animals in Battersea."
Battersea Dogs and Cats Home chief Claire Horton said: "We hope that greater engagement with the home and its cats and dogs will enrich the lives of those who have served this country so gallantly."
Martin Snow of the Royal Hospital Chelsea said the partnership would "give our cat and dog-loving veterans a fantastic opportunity to interact and enjoy the companionship of the many animals in Battersea's care".