Verwood care home residents surprised as farmyard animals appear

A donkey, goat and sheep turned up at a Verwood care home this month to surprise residents.

Noel the donkey, Charlie the sheep and Ant the goat, from Ems Friendly Farm in Southampton, won the hearts of the delighted residents with their antics.

There were smiles and laughter as the farmyard favourites nuzzled in for cuddles, Resident Margaret Pearson, aged 89, said: “The animals were so friendly and very well-behaved.

“It was wonderful to have them visit – it’s not every day you see animals coming inside your home.

“It was also lovely to talk gently to them and stroke them.”

Verwood House’s Wellbeing and Lifestyle Coach Emilia Turner said: "We really didn’t know what to expect and when we were told they would be well-behaved enough to come inside, I was quite surprised.

“But they really were on their very best behaviour. The residents loved the animals, and Noel and Charlie were so soft, it was lovely stroking them.”

Research has shown that interacting with animals can help reduce boredom, agitation and anxiety, as well as encourage communication and socialisation. Animals can also help to improve memory as the experience can help people remember their own animals from the past.

Pictured: Margaret Pearson and Anne Whittet.

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