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Exotic Animals Visit Huddersfield Care Home For Therapy Session

A dragon, a tarantula, and a snake were among the latest visitors to a Huddersfield care home – as residents took part in an animal therapy session.

Almost a dozen miniature creatures were brought to Aden Lodge Care Home, Clayton West, by mobile petting zoo DB Animal Therapy.

Among the visitors was Rico the rabbit, Pablo and Robbie the tortoises, Leo the guinea pig, Smokie the hen, Maui the bearded dragon, Curly the tarantula, Pepper the hedgehog, and Lily the snake.

Residents had the chance to meet, hold, stroke, or just watch each of the animals as they were taken around the living room area of the care home.

Maureen Metcalfe, 90, held Maui the bearded dragon. She said: “It was lovely, so friendly.”

Olive Smith, 101, Sheila Parker, 96, and Mick Gore,76, all took turns stroking Rico the rabbit. While Pepper the hedgehog, the two tortoises, and Smokie the hen also received a lot of attention from residents.

Lily the corn snake was also popular, with Sheena Stevens, 85, and Eunice Bedford, 90, among those to hold her round their necks.

The tarantula, Curly, however, was less popular among the residents, but staff members Jennie Chambers, senior care assistant, and Sam Hiley, administrator, were brave enough to pass the furry spider between them.

Animal based activities have proven therapeutic benefits for residents, especially those living with dementia, according to Aden Lodge Care Home manager Sarah Durham.

She said: “These sorts of sessions have a wide range of benefits, helping to boost everyone’s mood, reduce feelings of stress and loneliness, ease anxiety, improve overall wellbeing, and being a lot of fun, of course.

“It was a lovely experience for our residents and staff to meet all the animals and we’d all like to thank Charlotte from DB Animal Therapy for bringing them to Aden Lodge and our activities coordinator Janice McNab for arranging the session.

“You only need to see the residents interacting with the animals and talking about it for hours afterwards to know how beneficial these sorts of therapy sessions are.”