We take a look at the effects that pets and other animals can have on customers' and staff's wellbeing.
Angela, carer at , takes great care of Pinfold Lane's fish whose name is Norman. Angela feels having Norman has a calming effect on some of our customers. The gentleman in the photos was new to Pinfold Lane and by helping with the cleaning of the tank really helped him to settle in and has led to him helping with other tasks in the garden. He named Angela the ‘fish whisperer’. She has recently supplied Norman with a toy ball after reading this can provide stimulation for him as sadly he is now alone. One of Norma's favourite things to do is to eat lettuce!
My Mini Raptors have given me a daily smile and giggle for 2 years now. Seeing them roam the garden day after day has had an enormous benefit on my wellbeing. Along with the chickens, my garden was always a buzz of activity as the multitude of bird feeders attracted all sorts. I’ve had bullfinch, greenfinch, goldfinch, blackbird, sparrow hawk, dunnocks, house sparrow, nuthatch, black cap, blue tit, great tit, coal tit, long tailed tit, woodpecker, robin, starlings, all sorts of species have visit my garden, as well as the cunning squirrels. I could be having a horrible day, but by merely looking out my window a smile would grow on my face as I watched nature do its thing with beauty and majesty.
All that changed in December when Avian Flu hit (basically, it is bird covid). The chickens had to go into lockdown and I had to remove all my feeders and bird bath from my garden. As a result my garden got very quiet. It soon hit me how large a coping mechanism my garden was for me, dealing with living and working alone during a pandemic. My mood crashed. Thankfully, after 4 months, avian lockdown has now been lifted and my mini raptors are now free to roam the garden and the hilarious game of trying to keep them out of the kitchen can finally resume. It currently stands as: Jenny- 36 v Chickens – 38,726,183,283
Ever since Bunty came into my girlfriend’s life, she has made her smile and laugh every single day, and she had the exact same effect on me when I first met her. It didn’t take long for Bunty to not just be my girlfriend's dog; she became our dog. Bunty sadly passed away in March 2021 at the ripe old age of 13, but she leaves behind memories that will forever be etched into my memory.
The sun always makes us feel better but when I see a little lamb looking so content in the morning when walking my son to school, it makes my smile just that bit bigger!
Pets are such an integral part of my life. My home is just a house without my pets around. I have always been an animal fan and as I grew up I badgered my mum and dad to move away from just having a family dog to having a whole menagerie! Over the years I have had rabbits, guinea pigs, terrapins, cats, gerbils, mice, hamsters, dogs and horses. People often say that animals are too tying and although it’s true that you have to commit to a pet – I wouldn’t have it any other way. The times when I have lost a pet and been without my trusted friend for a period of time I have been bereft. My animals are a part of my daily routine and without them there they leave a huge gap. For me they are integral to my mental wellbeing. Looking after and caring for them, seeing them grow and develop, loving them and being loved back unconditionally gives me endless energy. They also have their moments where they worry me a lot – when they are poorly or as they get older – but the pleasure they bring is worth that 100 times over. My current pet family are ponies – Rusty and Lucky, dogs - Lottie and Luna, cats – Maggie and Betty, and rabbits – Woody and Daphne. A little like Noah’s ark I seem to attract them in 2’s. I’ll be adding to the pet family again this weekend with the arrival of 10 rescue hens (yet to be named!). They’ve lived all their lives as caged egg producer so I am delighted to provide them with a lovely retirement home which I think they more than deserve after the life they must have lead.
I know we don’t all feel the same about animals but it is so important that if someone does have an affinity to pets that we nurture that and find a way through our support for them to have that animal interaction. My best life has animals at the heart of it and a life without them would certainly be a sad place for me.
One of the regular features in normal times for our Older People's day service are visits from with his amphibious collection of creatures and .
Senior Carer Karen from Grundy said "Customers always enjoy it. To hold little chicks, guinea pigs and rabbits. It's lovely!". A firm favourite with the customers and staff alike, as was Scooby, the donkey that enjoys being fed a carrot by the beaming customers.
Persona has always recognised the importance of animals for people's wellbeing and we are excited about the road map out of Covid so that we will be able to invite Smithills Farm and Ranger Rob back into .
Why not take a look back at some of our animal stories? Read about Clair and her horse, Toby; how and when the Persona team donated their .