Remi the American cornsnake, Millie the giant millipede and Vincent the Russian tortoise were among the more unusual guests during two days of animal encounters at a Winchester dementia care home.
Residents at Colten Care’s St Catherines View welcomed expert handlers and their charges from Creature Teachers in New Milton and the Alton-based Mill Cottage mobile farm.
Team members at the Stanmore Lane home arranged the interactive visits to help residents recapture memories of time spent with pets and other animals.
Activities Organisers Codey Hickman and Sophie Lambton invited children from nearby St Swithun’s School and Tops Day Nursery to come and enjoy the fun too.
Codey said: “The visits were a great chance for different generations to share a moment together. For those of our residents who had animal contact in the past, it was a really good way to stimulate memories. The smiles on the faces of the residents and children as they were introduced to the animals said it all and we look forward to many future visits.”
Lisa Kiely from Creature Teachers said: “We find people often have stories to tell when they meet our animals. One man who hadn’t spoken very much for some time was fascinated by our tortoise and was prompted to say it reminded him of buying a tortoise for a girlfriend when he was a boy. Typically, the animal becomes something to focus on straight away, an icebreaker to prompt conversation.”
Remi, Millie and Vincent were in the Creature Teachers’ party along with Rory the rabbit, Echo the owl and three rats named Cookie, Dinger and Bertie.
Farm animals in the Mill Cottage collection included lambs, goats, turkeys, chickens and ducklings.