Animal Encounters raise smiles for people supported at Precious Homes
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The friendly visitors included cute bunnies and guinea pigs, as well as three different types of millipedes, cockroaches, two breeds of snake, and an owl called Woody.
The creatures were accompanied by Geoff from Animal Encounters, who is a familiar face in residential and supported living settings, where he offers a pet therapy programme, allowing people to get a close-up experience of the creatures.
Talking about the experience, registered manager Claire Croucher commented “January is such a long month, the excitement of Christmas seems a distant memory, it is cold and windy outside. To wile away an afternoon I thought it would be fun for the people supported to have an animal experience a little out of the ordinary!”
Spending time with animals has long been known to have benefits for both mental and physical health – reducing feelings of isolation, depression, and anxiety. The simple act of stroking an animal can trigger the release of oxytocin, a hormone which can help to promote a sense of calm and wellbeing. In mental health settings, interactions with therapy animals have been shown to improve emotional expression and communication, enhance self-esteem and encourage social interaction. As well as the various benefits, getting to know the animals is great fun, too – as these pictures show!
Claire continued, “Everyone was so brave touching the animals and then holding them. Kelly enjoyed chasing the millipedes as they kept running away! This was an educational visit as well – Geoff told us all about the creatures’ habitats, eating and hunting habits, and life cycles. It was a pleasure to watch the delight on the faces of all who attended. A big thank you to the staff who overcame their own fears to support those who live at Veryan and Tolcarne to have an enjoyable day!”