JUNIPER the donkey charmed staff and residents when he staged a walkabout at a Dorset care home.
The 13-year-old Spanish miniature was visiting Colten Care’s Fernhill home in Longham.
Surprise turned to delight when residents were introduced to Juniper who is part of the donkey assisted therapy programme at The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth, Devon.
Accompanied by Les Dawes and Katrina Hammond from The Donkey Sanctuary, Juniper turned heads as he visited two of Fernhill’s four house groups, Cedar and Hazel.
Ann-Marie Knight, Activity Organiser, said: “It certainly made an unusual sight as he toured the building.
“The reaction from our residents was wonderful to see. They loved the visit and Juniper was beautifully behaved.
“Our residents love animals. A donkey is a first for us but we receive visits from Caring Canines and the home has adopted a black cat called Figgy who is much loved.”
The Donkey Sanctuary is the largest donkey sanctuary in the world, supporting the owners of working donkeys in 29 countries. It also has six donkey assisted therapy centres in the UK.
The donkey assisted therapy programme provides therapeutic visits for elderly people and children with additional needs and disabilities.
The emotional and physical benefits of companion animals are now increasingly being recognised. Evidence shows that spending time with animals can be highly therapeutic.