Feb 08, 2019
The friendly penguins created a stir when they joined residents at Mountbatten Grange, for a flapping good time.
The visit was specially organised by the home team to surprise Annie Thelwell, a 92-year-old resident at Mountbatten Grange. A lifelong animal lover, Annie always wears a penguin-shaped pendant and has filled her memory box with photos of the friendly animals. Annie, one of the first residents in the new Windsor care home, had made a wish on the home’s wishing tree to see penguins, but wasn’t expecting to be able to meet them up close.
Residents quickly broke the ice during a ‘show and tell’ workshop, which gave them the opportunity to find out more about the penguins, assist with the feeding and stroke them.
The hand-reared Humboldt penguins, named Pringle and Charlie, were brought into the home by Amazing Animals, and are friendly, relaxed and used to human contact. The penguins live in a specially constructed enclosure, including a swimming pool, pebbled beach and penguin house at Heythrop Zoo, and are kept together in a breeding group to ensure regular social interactions.
Originating from South America, the animals are used to warm weather and can adjust to different environments. The penguins regularly meet new people and attend workshops and educational talks all around the UK, which aim to raise the general public’s awareness of conservation matters.
Home manager, Saad Baig, said: “We always like to go the extra-mile for residents here at Mountbatten Grange, and make their wishes come true, no matter how small – or unusual. Annie talks about penguins with passion, so we were really excited to be able to make her dream of seeing one up close come true. We managed to keep the visit a complete surprise, so it was incredible to see her light up when they waddled into the care home – they are truly wonderful creatures and it was a fantastic moment for everyone involved.
“The penguins were so friendly, and we know just how beneficial animal therapy can be for older people – especially for those living with dementia. Being close to animals can help lift a person’s mood, stimulate social interaction and ease agitation – and the penguins were brilliant at doing just that!”
Helston Lane, Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 5GG
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