Woodford Green care home uses pygmy goats and chicks for animal therapy

PUBLISHED: 17:16 04 September 2017 | UPDATED: 17:30 04 September 2017

Harts House care home resident Maureen Porter enjoying the goats and chicks used as animal therapy. Picture: Taja Rosie Young

Harts House care home resident Maureen Porter enjoying the goats and chicks used as animal therapy. Picture: Taja Rosie Young


A Woodford Green care home has started using animals and birds as part of therapy for its elderly residents.

Four pygmy goats and two tiny chicks were brought to Harts House Care Home, in Harts Grove, last week.

Residents, relatives and even staff gathered in the communal lounge to spend an afternoon with the adorable animals, getting to hold, cuddle and have a selfie or two.

But as well as being cute, the goats and chick perform an important function, providing therapy for patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Research has found that interacting with the animals encourages residents to be more social, it improves their relaxation and reduces physical pain and blood pressure.

They recognise the goats and chicks as things they can interact with without any worries.

Senior lead events co-ordinator at Bupa, Tajá Rosie Young, explained: “I started to look into animal therapy first when a resident expressed how much she was missing her cat.

“This lead me to look into bringing animals into the home, and it went from a dog to a cat to goats and chickens.

“The animals are of so much benefit to the residents, improving cognitive function and in one case, social emotion.

“They assist in the enhancement of memory recall and the sense of wellbeing.”

Residents got to cuddle the goats while learning about their dietary needs, growth and living conditions.

The chicks were taken around to the residents’ bedrooms, for those who were unable to make it down the communal area.

The pictures show how much the residents delighted in playing with the animals.

The tiny chicks hopped all over the place, with one leaping up onto resident Jennifer Moxham’s shoulder.

Tajá said: “The afternoon presented so much positivity for both staff and residents.

“It was amazing to see how something so simple can make such a lasting positive impact.”

“The benefits of animal therapy is amazing and this has really left a positive lasting impact in the care home, so much so that the residents are now asking for a goat.

“They just didn’t want to let go of them.”

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