92-Year-Old's Wishes Come True As Penguins Visit Her In Care Home
If you're having a bad day then this story might just turn it around and make you smile. It was just another day for the elderly residents at a care home in Windsor when a couple of unexpected and rather cute visitors, penguins Charlie and Pringle, popped in to say 'hello'.
The visit was organised by the team at Care UK's Mountbatten Grange, Windsor to surprise resident Annie, 92, who absolutely loves penguins and had made the wish to meet them.
The friendly penguins created a bit of a stir when they joined the residents at the Windsor care home, but everyone had a flapping good time.
The visit was specially organised by the home team to surprise Annie Thelwell, a 92-year-old resident at Mountbatten Grange.
Annie has always been an animal lover and has a box of cherished animal photos and wears a unique penguin-shaped pendant at all times.
Annie, who was one one of the first residents in the new care home, had made a wish on the care home's wishing tree to see penguins. But she probably only expected to see them on a documentary or at the zoo - but this encounter was a little more up close and personal.
After the penguins' arrival, the residents quickly broke the ice with a workshop, which gave them the opportunity to find out more about the penguins, assist their handlers' with feeding them and stroke them.
Pringle and Charlie are hand-reared Humboldt penguins and were brought into the home by Amazing Animals. They are friendly, calm and relaxed when meeting new people (they both regularly attend workshops and educational talks all around the UK).
"Ahead of the visit, we carried out a risk assessment to ensure that both the residents and the penguins would be completely safe and well. Charlie and Pringle were captive bred, as were their parents, meaning they are used to meeting new people.They have worked in the film industry for many years under the experienced guidance of a company that has worked with animals in films for over 40 years," explained Saad Baig, home manager at Mountbatten Grange.
"I think a measure of how comfortable they were is that one of them settled down for a nap after they had eaten all the fish. They were very well received by residents in the home and certainly gave us a day to remember!"
The penguins live in a special enclosure with a swimming pool, pebbled beach and penguin house at Heythrop Zoo, and are kept within in a breeding group to ensure social interaction.
Originating from South America, the animals are native to warm weather but can quickly adjust to different environments. The penguins regularly meet new people and attend workshops and educational talks all around the UK to raise the general public's awareness of conservation issues.
"We always like to go the extra-mile for residents here at Mountbatten Grange, and make their wishes come true, no matter how small - or unusual. Annie talks about penguins with passion, so we were really excited to be able to make her dream of seeing one up close come true. We managed to keep the visit a complete surprise, so it was incredible to see her light up when they waddled into the care home - they are truly wonderful creatures and it was a fantastic moment for everyone involved," said Saad Baig.
"The penguins were so friendly, and we know just how beneficial animal therapy can be for older people - especially for those living with dementia. Being close to animals can help lift a person's mood, stimulate social interaction and ease agitation - and the penguins were brilliant at doing just that!"
Mountbatten Grange is a new luxury care home featuring 72 ensuite bedrooms and was designed to enable residents to live active and fulfilled lives as independently as possible.
The care home incorporates hobby and leisure space and has its own cinema, hair salon and café.
For more information visit Care UK.
Featured Image Credit: Care UK