Although Belong Warrington, the community care village on Loushers Lane, has many wise old owls in residence, an afternoon visit from those of a slightly different feather caused quite a stir of excitement of late.
A parliament of owls, under the close supervision of trainers from Hack Back CIC, swooped by the village to help deliver an interactive animal therapy session, providing an unusual source of excitement and stimulation for the village residents.
The visit was organised by Lisa McLaughlin who works as an Experience Coordinator at Belong Warrington, and got in touch with the community interest organisation, which works with birds of prey to help offer experiences designed to improve people’s well being, encourage social interaction and reduce stress.
During the session, residents were invited to handle the owls themselves, and learnt about how they are trained and their natural habitat. 85-year-old Peggy Gordon commented: “Having spent most of my life living in a built up area, I’d never even seen an owl so close-up before, let alone touched or held one! It was amazing to discover what incredibly intelligent and well-behaved birds they are. They even waved goodbye before leaving.”
Lisa McLaughlin added: “At Belong we always aim to provide as vibrant, inclusive and diverse a range of activities as possible. It’s all about finding something unusual for our customers to enjoy that get’s people talking and involved in what’s going on around them.
“Many of our residents live with dementia, a condition for which animal assisted therapy (AAT) has often been shown to have a very positive, calming effect. It certainly went down well here and we look forward to holding more of these sessions in the future.”