Interaction with animals has many benefits, influencing not just our happiness, but our health too. Our team of specially-selected animals has visited many organisations including care homes, SEN groups, hospitals, nurseries, schools, libraries and even a church! Over the past years, research has shown that animals have the ability to decrease blood pressure, reduce anxiety and depression and encourage relaxation. Interaction with animals can include watching them, stroking them, feeling the different textures of the fur and feathers, holding them on your lap, feeding them, grooming them, listening to them and so much more! We have had the amazing opportunity to experience first-hand how beneficial interaction with animals can be. One of the most frequent places we visit is Nursing Homes. We love to see the residents becoming animated and smiling as they tell us stories of pets they once had and experiences they've shared with animals. In homes specialising in dementia care, residents show compassion and tenderness towards the animals which is very heart warming to see. Children and adults who normally struggle to engage have been seen chatting away to the animals and we find this incredibly rewarding work.
Our Animal Team
We choose our animal-visiting team very carefully and, over the years, have established a group of confident, human-orientated animals who absolutely love what they do! Our animal team includes rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, a ferret, a degu, bantam chickens (and sometimes chicks), ducks (and sometimes ducklings) and even a couple of Miniature Shetland ponies. The majority of animals we use are rescues and they each have a story behind them.
During the visits, the welfare of our animals is always our priority and we will only do what we feel they can manage. The animals chosen have shown to particularly enjoy the visits and we feel they can benefit just as much as the human participants!
What are the benefits of animal visits?
Animal Assisted Therapy...
It has been proven that animals can lower blood pressure, improve cardiovascular health and release endorphins which have a calming effect. As well as the physical benefits, pets can also reduce depression, decrease feelings of isolation, encourage communication and participation, decrease anxiety and boredom and also provide comfort.
We are very keen on promoting animal welfare and one of our aims is to educate the public on the correct way to care for pets - in particular, rabbits and guinea pigs.
Where can our animal visits take place?
We take our team of animals into residential homes, nursing homes, special needs schools, mainstream schools, hospitals, hospices, care homes, organisations (e.g. Brownies, Scouts), day care centres and we are often able to visit people in their own homes. As well as this, we encourage people to come to our location if this is more suitable as a wider range of animals can be seen, including ponies and chickens. We are also able to attend private events and parties.
Our only requirements are:
Enough space for the animal pen
You are within a reasonable distance of Whitchurch, Hampshire
Outside space OR easy-to-clean floors (for poultry)
A first aider is present.
What happens in an animal visit?
During an animal visit session, participants are able to have a small animal on their lap. They are encouraged to interact with the animal and we are able to bring grooming brushes, vegetables, toys and harnesses to help participants engage in the session. As well as this, the animals can just be cuddled and stroked for enjoyment as this in itself is a great form of therapy!
For some groups and organisations we visit, we give talks and explain what our charity does, why animals need rescuing and we tell some of the stories of our visiting animals.