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Four-legged furry friend is welcome visitor for Hartlepool care home residents

Dinsdale Lodge resident Florrie Orpen meeting Teddy.
Dinsdale Lodge resident Florrie Orpen meeting Teddy.

An animal therapy session at a Hartlepool care home was no donkeying around as residents got to meet a real-life Teddy.

Dinsdale Lodge in Seaton Carew arranged for Teddy, a miniature donkey, to pay a visit as part of the home’s pet therapy sessions.

Teddy the Donkey from Blackberry Donkeys visiting Dinsdale Lodge Care Home,  Station Lane, Seaton Carew, on Wednesday. Bobbie Johnson and deputy manager Wendy Dick with Teddy.

Teddy the Donkey from Blackberry Donkeys visiting Dinsdale Lodge Care Home, Station Lane, Seaton Carew, on Wednesday. Bobbie Johnson and deputy manager Wendy Dick with Teddy.

The home in Station Lane teamed up with Marie Bates of Blackberry Donkeys in Hartlepool for the event.

All of the home’s 24 residents got to interact with Teddy who was led into the lounge and even residents’ bedrooms.

Activities co-ordinator Donna Robinson said: “The residents absolutely loved it. They were all commenting on how nice he was and his eyes.

“They were asking questions about how old he was and why he is so small.

Teddy with handler Marie Bates and home residents Eric Butler (left) and Fred Osbourne.

Teddy with handler Marie Bates and home residents Eric Butler (left) and Fred Osbourne.

“His handler took him into the lounge and into residents rooms who were unable to get out of bed.

“They all interacted with him and he was really good with them.”

Teddy’s visit was the latest in a series of pet therapy sessions at Dinsdale Lodge.

Once a week they welcome a Lhasa Apso dog named Harvey.

And last year, residents handled a variety of exotic animals, including a snake, turtle and large centipede, in a visit from Discovery Zoo.

Donna said the sessions are hugely beneficial for the residents.

“They really enjoy it,” she said. “It makes them happy and can actually change the mood.”

Teddy is due to make a return visit to the home at Christmas.

Donna said the pet therapy sessions are just one example of recent activities the home does to stimulate the minds of residents, including those living with dementia.

Others include night staff wearing pyjamas to promote healthy sleep patterns and providing doll therapy.

And the internet is helping one resident to communicate better with their family after encountering difficulties using the phone.

Hartlepool Sea Cadets are due to pay a visit to the home soon.