A MENAGERIE of miniature creatures entertained Tyneside care home residents during an animal therapy session.
Flash the tortoise, Dexter the gecko, and Coco and Pop the guinea pigs, were brought to Willowdene Care Home, on Victoria Road West, Hebburn, by The Discovery Zoo.
The animal therapy provider ran the workshop to allow elderly residents at the care home to meet both familiar and unusual critters.
Resident John Samuels, 82, enjoyed holding Dexter. He said: “His little feet felt like sticky pads.”
Maureen Brown, 70, said: “I was amazed by Flash.”
The tortoise was also a favourite of staff member Kelly Davison’s daughter, Hannah, 5, who was visiting to meet the animals. Kelly said: “She was so enthralled by him she asked if she could get one.”
Meanwhile, Coco and Pop enjoyed a stroke from all the residents, who said they felt very soft.
Animal based activities have proven therapeutic benefits for residents, especially those living with dementia, according to the home manager Christopher Hogan-Hind.
Chris said: “Animal therapy sessions can help to boost everyone’s mood. It was smiles all around when Flash, Dexter, Coco and Pop dropped by for a visit.
But as well as being a lot of fun, animal therapy can help reduce feelings of stress and loneliness, ease anxiety, and improve overall wellbeing.
“You only need to see the residents interacting with the animals and talking about it for hours afterwards to know how beneficial these sorts of therapy session are.”