Three cheeky penguins waddled into a Lincoln care home as part of its dementia therapy on Tuesday afternoon.
Residents and staff at Bernadette House care home on South Park were visited by Charlie (12), Pringle (6) and Groot (7 months) from Heythorp Zoological gardens in Oxfordshire.
The excitement and happiness on the residents’ faces was clear to see as the penguins sat on their laps, wandered around with their trainer, and enjoyed fishy treats.
Resident Barbara Lavington, 90, said it was a “lovely experience to be able to get as near to them as that” and Carol Sears, 76, added “I think they’re absolutely fantastic. It was just wonderful”.
Care home owner Elizabeth Stephens told The Lincolnite: “We specialise in caring for people who live with dementia and animal therapy is very calming and therapeutic for them, so at different times of the year we bring in different animals and birds into the home. We’ve had spring lambs, alpacas, birds of prey and now it’s penguins.
“The penguins are from Heythrop Zoological park which is in Oxfordshire, it’s the only zoo in the country with a licence to take the animals off the premises and we’re delighted that they’ve come to see us.
“There’s been a lot of excitement in the build up to it and one of our residents, the first thing she said this morning, was hey it’s penguin day.”
Aaron Newman from Heythorp Zoological gardens said: “All our animals are trained to do this sort of thing. They are also trained to do tv shows and film work.
“It can be absolutely amazing. You can come to these sort of things and you see everybody’s faces just completely light up.”
Some of the penguins also previously appeared in the BBC drama series ‘Our Zoo’.