The people living at Dovecote Manor in Milton Keynes recently welcomed some interesting visitors to their home from ZooLab, who brought with them a variety of animals for the group to meet and interact with. ZooLab visit many Excelcare homes, hosting ethical hands-on animal encounters.
Animal-assisted therapy is recognised as an occupational therapy within psychology: animals bring people together, helping people to see things with a different perspective and to cope in the most adverse situations. Visits from ZooLab stimulate and engage residents with lots of opportunities for interaction while handling the animals.
Everyone at Dovecote Manor were thrilled to welcome ‘Ranger Gary’ and his animals; they spent the session observing and discussing different senses and textures, as well as listening to fun facts and information about the animals.
Heading up the menagerie was ‘Bilbo’ the Tiger Snail, a species that originates from Asia. Each resident touched the snail’s shell as Gary advised it is said to bring good luck, some of the braver members of the group some even touched the snail’s slimy body! ‘Costa’ the Zebra Tarantula was next. Costa is a female, and when fully grown will reach the size of a hand! Male spiders are a lot smaller, and are only the size of a 50 pence piece. Despite their size tarantulas are delicate, which unfortunately meant she had to stay in her tank, although some of the group were quite relieves that she wouldn’t be crawling around outside! An orange Bearded Dragon named ‘Jaffa Cake’ came out next, and residents commented on how spiky and rough she felt. ‘Titan’ the Corn Snake felt cool and smooth, when the snake slithered the group commented how they could feel her muscles and bones move underneath her skin. Everyone fell in love with ‘Luna’ the Gerbil, as she was so friendly, soft and silky. Gary explained how Luna’s red eyes were due to her being an albino, and that her favourite thing to do is dig and burrow. Gerbils have sand baths as they don’t like water.
The group had a lovely afternoon and really enjoyed meeting and learning about all of the different animals.