DRACO and Dobbie were among the Harry Potter characters to make an appearance at a Bolton care home – but not in human form.
Using the “animagus” spell from the magic world portrayed in J.K. Rowling’s series of best-selling books, the characters turned up at Lever Edge Care Home, on Lever Edge Lane, as animals.
The visitors included a snake called Draco, named after the Hogwarts bully Draco Malfoy, and a rat called Dobbie, the house elf who served the Malfoy family.
There was also a millipede named Millie, named after lesser known character Millicent Bulstrode, and a snail with the non-Harry Potter related name Gary.
The animals were taken to Lever Edge Care Home by ZooLab, which provides animal encounters in nurseries, schools, businesses and in the care sector.
Among the residents to greet the creatures was Doris Gregory, 92, who held Dobbie. She said: “I used to have a fear of rats but I wanted to conquer it by holding one. I was glad I did.”
Fellow resident Joyce Duckworth, 89, took turns holding each of the animals. She said: “I love them.”
Lisa Martin, home manager at Lever Edge Care Home, said: “Animal therapy has proven hugely beneficial for our residents, improving their general wellbeing and mood.
“You only have to witness the sessions with ZooLab and you can see the joy on their faces when they have a close encounter with a snake, stroke a rat and hold a giant, slimy snail.
“Those who are usually quiet and reserved really come out of their shells – excuse the pun – and the benefits last for hours and days afterwards.
“We can’t say too many of the residents have read Harry Potter but the staff certainly enjoyed learning about Draco the snake – which seemed like a very appropriate name.
“We’d like to say a big thank you to the ZooLab rangers for bringing in the creatures. They were wonderful with the residents and we’re sure we’ll be welcoming them again soon.”