Ferret Fun at Steepleton Manor

Residents at Steepleton Manor Care Home enjoyed some fun and games when two friendly ferrets visited.  Blossom and Bear live at the Animal Park at Kingston Maurward College.

Their favourite games are playing in ball pits and little swimming pools.

Ferrets are a domesticated species related to the wild polecat.  They are very playful and love to chase toys. Whilst they can be friendly, it is important to remember they are carnivorous predators which would normally hunt rabbits in the wild so they have a nasty bite!

Part of the Mustelid family alongside badgers, they have special glands under their tails which give off a musty smell.

Ferrets are happiest living in pairs or small groups.  They do not make ideal pets as they are best living outside and require specialist care including vaccinations and neutering.

The ferret was originally domesticated to be used for hunting, and are still often used, sometimes alongside hawks to chase rabbits out of their warrens.

Blossom and Bear are used solely for education and had a great time meeting residents and staff at Steepleton Manor Care Home, near Dorchester.

Laslzo Bartus, Manager at Steepleton Manor said, “Our residents love to meet animals and the two ferrets were adorable and seemed to enjoy being handled and playing.  They bought lots of smiles to many faces”.

Little Horse is a Star!

A visit to a Care Home from a miniature horse provided an extra special treat at Sherborne House in Yeovil.

‘Star’ met each of the residents at the dementia home earlier this year, and made a big impression for a little horse.

April Kibby, from Lofty Therapy Horses said, “Each visit throws up new ‘experiences’ which they are ready to deal with and learn from. We bought our first American Miniature Horse called ‘Lofty’ as a companion for a larger horse and thought we would show him. That never happened as we took him to visit my father in law in a nursing home and the rest as they say, is history.

Star is the only female therapy horse and is an American Miniature Horse that was donated to us for therapy use. She came from a farm in Cheshire.  She originally came from Texas as a 6-month old foal. She is 8.5 years old and 32 inches high, our smallest therapy horse”.

Miniature horses can live up to 30 years and like regular sized horses enjoy a roam in a field and a warm stable at night.

Lofty has made several TV appearances and continues to visit nursing homes, hospices, nurseries, hospitals and schools.

Special little trainers are made for the horses which enable them to trot around indoors whilst on their visits. They are also trained to go in a lift making them easily accessible to all floors.

Seven Pups Steal Hearts at Care Home

Seven eight week old Terrier Cross Puppies have stolen the hearts of residents at Sherborne House Care Home in Yeovil.  Amy Trowbridge-smith, who works at the care home owns the seven puppies and was having difficulty deciding on names so she took them to meet the residents who suggested suitable names for them after a play session with the three boys and four girls.

Treacle, Sky, Bella, Marley, Patch Nunock and Magic have all found loving homes and enjoyed their visit to meet the residents for a play session.

The puppies were an ideal tonic for the residents who always enjoy meeting animals, birds and any other friendly guests that visit.

William Woos Residents

William the miniature donkey from Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary visited Steepleton Manor Care Home recently and took advantage of some extra fuss and attention from staff and residents. Daphne Morrison, 99, (pictured) made the most of meeting him.

For some residents, it stirred up memories of the past and for others it simply provided the chance to stroke an animal usually found in fields, on beaches or in Christmas Nativity events.

Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary is a charity so all proceeds from their visit will go directly to help rescue donkeys. The charity rescues and cares for donkeys both in the UK and worldwide and was formed in 1969 by Dr Elisabeth Svendsen, MBE.


Gracie is a hoot with the residents!

Animal therapy for care home residents has been proven to enhance wellbeing and positively encourages interaction. Regular contact with animals can not only aid sensory stimulation but also brings smiles to many faces. Here at Altogether Care, we regularly receive visits from furry four and two-legged friends to enhance the lives of those who live with us.

Last week residents at Steepleton Manor Care Home enjoyed some animal therapy when Gracie the owl from a Dorset based Owl Sanctuary dropped in. Everybody enjoyed stroking Gracie, who seemed to be quite at home despite the fact that it was not night time!

Photo: Anne Dixon with Gracie.

Look who dropped in for lunch…

Residents at Steepleton Manor Care Home had two surprise lunch guests when Alpacas Jimmy and Oliver dropped in to visit at the 29 bedroomed care home. 80 year old resident John Redhead shared a special greeting with Jimmy, who lives at Alpaca Adventure in Shaftesbury with 28 other Alpacas and their owner Wendy Williams.

Alpaca’s main diet is grass but they also enjoy hay and dried food which is specially prepared for them. They originate from South America and the average sized Alpaca stands around 4ft tall to the top of its back.

Both Jimmy and Oliver often visit care homes and other local community members so regularly enjoy a pat or a cuddle. Residents fed the Alpacas who also visited the rooms of residents who were unable to join the group in the lounge.

Rachel Lewis from Steepleton Manor said, ‘It was a delight for the Alpacas to visit some residents who were in bed and then see a bright smile come to their faces’.

Some recent day to day activities