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Therapy animals make Christmas visit to care home

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Residents at a Surrey nursing home welcomed Christmas early this year with a special visit from therapy animals Mr Kipling, the donkey and Morris, the guinea pig.

The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society, which provides nursing care and accommodation to elderly, sick or disabled seafarers, their widows and dependants, has been running for more than 150 years.

“Our little visitors were greatly received by residents”

Anne Kasey

The visit to the society’s home in Banstead was organised with local company Pony Pals, which specialises in pony petting days and therapy sessions for groups in the Surrey area.

Mr Kipling, a Mediterranean miniature donkey, stands at just 30 inches in height and spent more than an hour at the home meeting residents.

Evidence suggests that animal assisted therapy can reduce stress levels and promote well-being. For example, petting the animals stimulates the residents’ senses.

The donkey is also trained to walk beside a walking aid or wheelchair so all the residents were able to spend time with him.

Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society

Therapy animals make Christmas visit to care home

Morris the guinea pig

Caroline Seignot, his owner, said: “It was lovely to see the smiles on residents’ faces when Mr Kipling arrived in his Santa hat.

“Our visits bring comfort to those with a love of animals and often rekindle fond memories for residents,” she said. “There was lots of laughter at the home and everyone was keen to learn more about how Mr Kipling and Morris are cared for.”

Care home manager Anne Kasey said: “The residents were delighted to have their very own Christmas donkey for the day.

“Our little visitors were greatly received by residents who are unable to leave their bed as Mr Kipling was able to travel in the lift to visit them,” she said.

She added: “The residents greatly enjoyed grooming and petting Mr Kipling and Morris and found the experience very therapeutic.”

Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society

Therapy animals make Christmas visit to care home

Mr Kipling the donkey

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