Care Home Residents Overjoyed As Two Miniature Ponies Pay A Visit
Living in a care home can often be lonely, but one group of residents had their days brightened by some furry, four-legged visitors earlier this week.
Miniature ponies, Buttercup and Daisy, who measure just 2.5ft tall, popped by Magdalen Park Nursing Home in Hull to visit the residents on Wednesday.
The ponies instantly made the OAPs happy, with many coming out of their rooms to say hello.
The owner of the ponies, Helen Bellis, 44, said that bringing ponies to a care home provides residents with a "breath of fresh air" and a "genuine sense of joy".
Research shows that contact and companionship with animals can "reduce the stress hormone cortisol" and provide an overall boost to well-being.
More and more often, horses are being used in equine therapy, wherein contact with them is used to treat and alleviate mental health problems.
The therapy is said to help with a range of issues including anxiety, autism, poor behaviour, low self confidence, stress and trauma.
Helen, who runs a company called Furry Friends, said: "Seeing the interaction between Buttercup and Daisy and elderly residents at care homes is so powerful.
"Sometimes there are people who don't normally leave their rooms at all but they come out just to see the ponies.
"Daisy can identify if someone is having end of life care and she will go up to them, lay her head on their bed and breathe on their hand."
Helen added that "seeing animals takes so many of these elderly people back to their childhood and brings memories flooding back".
Furry Friends visit hospices two to three times a week to meet with the people living there.
Featured Image Credit: SWNS