Animals are the best therapy

5 April 2016

Residents at The Grand Care Centre in West Bridgford were surprised with some four, six and eight-legged visitors when they undertook a stimulating therapy session with leading animal handling experts, Zoolab.

From domestic rabbits, gerbils and guinea pigs to corn snakes, tarantulas and toads, the animals form part of an animal-assisted occupational therapy session that is recognised by psychologists to have a measurable positive effect on individuals, especially those in difficult circumstances. Under the close supervision of the animal handlers, residents at the Nottingham care home were able to get up close to their unusual visitors, touching, holding and learning more about a wide range of different insects, mammals and reptiles.

The session is specifically designed to harness the psychological power of animals in occupational therapy, as Caz Grundy at Zoolab explains: “Handling animals can have strong and positive effect on individuals, bringing them together, putting a different perspective on things and helping them to cope in often difficult circumstances. Our therapy sessions are widely recognised within the care home environment to delight residents and brighten their day.”

Group reservations manager at The Grand, Dawn Collett, added: “The session has definitely been one of our most popular events, with residents extremely interested and excited to meet a range of different animals and handle some insects and reptiles that they had never had the opportunity to meet up close before. “In addition to being a powerful therapy session, the Zoolab activity underlines our commitment to enablement and lifelong learning, keeping our residents stimulated and giving them the opportunity to experience new things.”

Husband and wife, Bob and Beryl, were among the first to meet the animals. Bob commented: “This afternoon has been a delight!   I’ve always wanted to handle a snake, but the opportunity hasn’t ever arisen. I also couldn’t resist a cuddle with the cute rabbits and guinea pigs!”

Raymond and Zoolab's Caz Grundy with the rat Edith and Bob with the lizard snake Doreen with the turtle