Elderly people living in a care home had the chance to cuddle a penguin during an unusual afternoon of animal therapy.
Father-and-son penguins Pringle, aged five, and Charlie, aged 20, received a warm welcome when they visited from a private zoo.
Residents of Madley Park House care home in Witney, Oxon, enjoy regular visits from ‘pat dogs’ but were delighted to have the chance to pet the two penguins.
Pringle and Charlie usually live in specially constructed accommodation at Heythorp Zoo, in nearby Chipping Norton, including nest boxes that look like caves, a pebbled beach and a filtered swimming pool.
And pupils from two local schools joined in the fun.
Activity coordinator Carly Willimont said: “It’s always such a joy to see how the residents react to the animals.
“And while we love bringing animals of all shapes and sizes into our homes to put a smile on the faces of our residents, this visit is extra special.
“It is not everyday you get a cuddle with a penguin.”
Studies have shown that caring for an animal has proven health benefits.
Residents were able to feed Pringle and Charlie, and cuddle them on their laps.
Care quality director Jo Blackburn said: “We have a number of regular ‘pat dogs’ that visit our homes.
“Many of our homes have their own pets, generally rabbits and cats.”
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