Elderly care home residents cheered up with adorable donkey therapy

Care home residents had their days made with a surprise visit from a cute donkey.

The delighted pensioners were treated to a healthy dose of animal therapy as they fed and stroked Pedro the donkey.

It was an eventful afternoon at Trowbridge Oaks Bupa Care Home as Pedro, provided by Kelly’s Donkeys in Beckington, paid a visit. 

The inspiration for the activity came after staff at the home discovered a donkey sanctuary just down the road.

The residents were allowed to cuddle and play with the donkey, and Pedro even visited some residents in their rooms.

The presence of animals can be calming and mood-boosting, especially for residents with dementia.

The afternoon was organised to boost the wellbeing of the residents.

Kayleigh Deadman, receptionist at the care home, says: ‘The residents were in disbelief that there was a real donkey in the home. 

‘They were overwhelmed with joy. 

‘He created a real buzz when he entered the room and everyone was talking about it for hours after he left. 

‘Some residents reminisced about childhood donkey rides at the beach and some said it reminded them of their past love for horse riding.’

Janet Cousins, resident at Trowbridge, particularly enjoyed her time with Pedro. 

She said: ‘It was wonderful to have such a special visitor and I wish we could have kept him for the whole day. 

‘I used to spend a lot of time at the local stables when I was younger, so it made me feel very nostalgic.’

The home are now planning to have other visits from Pedro or his friends in the future.

Julie Masklyne, a resident, would be keen for this as she said: ‘I want Pedro to live here with us! I’d have him here every week if I could.’

Bob Mead was one of the lucky residents who got a room visit, and he was ‘surprised’ when the donkey set foot in his space.

Linda Watts, home manager at Trowbridge Oaks, added: ‘Interaction with pets is proven to provide health benefits and, whilst the most common therapy animal used is dogs, we had the opportunity to mix things up here at Trowbridge Oaks Bupa Care Home with a visit from Pedro the donkey. 

‘The residents really enjoyed the experience, as did the staff, and it definitely bought a smile to everyone’s faces.’