A SKUNK, black widow spiders, snakes, and insects were among the menagerie of creatures at a Teesside care home for a wellbeing boosting animal therapy session.
The creatures were brought to Mandale House Care Home, on Acklam Road, Thornaby, by exotic animal encounter company Animal Story.
Elderly residents got to see, touch, and hold many of animals, which also included a tortoise, gecko, giant snails, and an owl.
Ella Atkinson, 89, said: “This is wonderful. I love all the animals but want to kidnap the skunk.”
David Shaw, 81, said: “What a marvellous experience. I cannot wait to tell my daughter.”
Pat Dobson, 85, added: “I did not think I would be touching a snake today.”
Animal based activities have proven therapeutic benefits for residents, especially those living with dementia, according to the care home’s activities coordinator, Sharon Lewis.
She said: “Animal therapy sessions are always hugely popular with our residents.
“They have a wide range of benefits, helping to boost everyone’s mood, reduce feelings of stress and loneliness, ease anxiety, and improve overall wellbeing. They’re also a lot of fun.
“It was a wonderful new experience for residents. Staff and residents were completely fascinated by all the creatures. Some residents don’t really like to do activities but when they realised the animals were in the home they were there like a shot. To see their reactions was magical.”
Martyn Storey, from Animal Story, said: “It was a pleasure to visit Mandale House Care Home. Our favourite visits are animal assisted activities that help improve emotional, social, cognitive, and physical wellbeing.
“Our furry and scaley friends can help with anxiety, depression, PTSD, and more. Care home sessions stimulate memories and give residents the chance to meet animals they may never have come across previously.”