RESIDENTS at a Chester care home welcomed an unusual ‘long-eared’ guest.
Much to the amusement of everyone at the CLS Care Home at Wealstone in Upton, Molly the donkey walked from room to room, greeting residents and staff, when she dropped by for a brief visit.
The special event was arranged through the Elisabeth Svendsen Trust, which provides therapy visits to older people and therapy riding for children with special needs.
CLS, the charitable organisation that owns Wealstone and 25 other care homes in Cheshire, Warrington and Wigan, believes that pets and animals can positively benefit the wellbeing of older people.
Each CLS home gives residents the opportunity to interact and enjoy the company of animals through a number of initiatives and organised activities, including visiting PAT (Pets as Therapy) dogs, and visits from local owl keepers and keepers of exotic animals such as tarantulas, snakes and lizards.
A number of CLS homes are also members of the Cinnamon Trust, respecting the bond between older people and their pets. As such, many homes have live-in pets, including cats, birds, rabbits and even chickens.
Home manager Lianne Smith said: “We have had pets, such as fish and budgies, living at Wealstone in the past. We have also benefited from registered PAT dogs visiting us, but having Molly the donkey come to visit was a real treat - she is certainly the most unusual visitor we have had so far.
“Animals visiting older people within a residential care setting is very therapeutic – they provide companionship and bring happiness and laughter.
“It was lovely to see residents showing warmth and care to the donkey while she became more familiar with our surroundings.”
For Sylvia Iles, a day care resident who visits Wealstone three times a week to join in activities and spend time in the company of friends, Molly’s visit was a true highlight.
She said: “When I heard there was a donkey coming to visit I didn’t know quite what to expect, but Molly was exceptionally well behaved.
“Her keeper led her around the home on a rope and brought her up to where I was sitting, so I could stroke and pat her – she was beautiful and very calm.
“I still live in my own home but I’ve been spending three days a week at Wealstone for almost two years. For me, the best two things about day care are the company and care. I enjoy the social atmosphere, I’ve made a lot of friends here and the staff are very kind.
“Wealstone is a wonderful place – it’s always spotlessly clean, the food is excellent, and there’s a good choice of activities and outings. On the days that I’m at home, I look forward to my next visit.”
In addition to the donkey therapy visit, Wealstone residents are also expecting a visit from owl keeper, Barn Owl Bill, and his feathered friends, on Thursday, April 15.
Residents will have the opportunity to get up close and personal with the tame birds, handling and stroking them, while Bill encourages his owls to demonstrate their skills by performing a number of tricks.