Miniature donkey brought back happy memories for these Hartlepool care home residents

This little donkey certainly brightened up residents’ day when he paid a visit to a Hartlepool care home.

Wednesday, 22nd May 2019, 17:50 pm
Seaton Hall Residential Home residents enjoy a visit from Teddy the donkey.

Teddy the miniature donkey went into Seaton Hall Residential Home, in Seaton Carew, for a spot of pet therapy.

Elderly residents, including many who have dementia, loved interacting and petting him, while he also brought happy memories flooding back.

Seaton Hall Residential Home resident Peggy Hendy meets Teddy.

His visit was arranged by Seaton Hall’s new activities co-ordinator Kelsey Measor through Blackberry Donkeys, who are based in Hartlepool.

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Kelsey said: “It was absolutely brilliant. All the residents came down and sat in the lounge and every one of them petted him.

“It was great to see the smiles on their faces while he was here.

“He really brightened the day up.”

Studies have shown how interacting with animals can help improve people’s mood, have a calming effect and boost social interaction.

Kelsey added: “Most of our residents have dementia. One of our ladies is from Italy and when Teddy was here she remembered about donkeys in her country.

“It was brilliant to bring back memories for some of the residents, especially the ones who have a love of animals.

“We are definitely going to see about having them back again.”

Kelsey contacted Blackberry Donkeys after hearing about them through her aunt who works at Dinsdale Lodge where Teddy paid a visit last year.

Blackberry Donkeys is run by Marie Bates who left her career as a primary school teacher to work with the animals she loves.

They have four donkeys that provide rides on Seaton Carew beach, attend charity days, schools, churches, fairs and fetes and festive events, and also for hire for children’s birthday parties and other special events.

Teddy is a miniature donkey who specialises in care home and hospice visits to cheer up residents.

On Blackberry Donkeys’ website, Marie said: “Donkeys are lovable and smart, with a keen sense of curiosity.

“I have always found donkeys fascinating. I have longed to work with them and now enjoy sharing my knowledge of these wonderful animals with others, as well as continuing to broaden my own knowledge of this member of the equidae family. Having the opportunity to work with my own donkeys and young people is absolutely amazing.”