Abbeyfield Alnwick - Care home

Donkeys in the care home - Abbeyfield Alnwick

Sadly, the radio or television can be an older person’s only company during the day. But at Abbeyfield new, stimulating experiences that trigger memories, spark conversations and encourage friendships fill the days of our residents.

Alnwick residential care home

This can result in some surprising scenes – like the time when miniature donkeys Fancy Pants and Fabergé trotted across the carpet into the lounge of Abbeyfield’s care home in Alnwick, Northumberland, to the delight of residents.

The laughter and fun the furry pair brought about was a talking point among residents, like Mary, who spent her childhood on horseback. "We had a farm, and I was always riding horses", she remembered.

As well as donkeys, the home welcomes dogs, rabbits, mice, lizards, snakes and even an owl or two.

Alnwick activities coordinator Freda said: "Animals are always popular with our residents. Many people used to have pets and they miss them when they don’t have them anymore.

The animal therapy sessions work in so many different ways and the affect they have on older people is often instantaneous. They encourage socialising, bring back cherished memories, have a calming effect and they make us all have a laugh together, which is the best medicine of all".