Many residents love a visitor of the four (or more) legged variety, so if it's got wings, fins, barks or chirps, it's certain that our care home residents will have an interest!

FaNimals is all about connecting Care Home residents with animal lovers and their pets. This involves animals regularly being taken into care homes by the owners. Many residents have always had pets at home and pets were a big part of their lives. They are keen to talk about this and share stories with other pet lovers. Emotionally, the physical touching of the animals and the reminiscence opportunities do wonders to make connections with pet owners and even with other residents. Connections are often initially made via the Wishing Washing Line (WWL), as the pet owners see a wish and think ‘I could do that’.

Most FaNimals visits are sustained because all participants get real pleasure in their new relationships. This can be entirely managed by the Care Home as regards frequency of visits etc.

FaNimals is a very small part of what we do, largely because once it starts in a Care Home it’s largely self sustaining. We’ve had visits from owls, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs…..many of which stem from initial WWL requests. In the past the Colchester Zoo outreach programme was fantastic. Just seeing the residents light up when a little doggy comes in through the door, and for the care staff as well, their days are brightened too!

So when someone brings their rabbit or dog in, or when Charlie, the PAT dog who regularly goes into a number of Care Homes arrives, it brings so much joy because generally Care Homes don’t have pets like cats and dogs and rabbits and chickens – animals so familiar for many of our residents for a large part of their lives before they moved house into the Care Home.

As much as it is a small part I think it’s incredibly important, because nothing can beat the pleasure and joy for residents when they have a puppy or other small animal in their lap!

Tony Lee

Other FaNs Animal experiences......

We have also created opportunities for residents to visit animal parks and zoos (in response to expressed WWL wishes) and our learning from these impacts on how we can improve response to requests for ‘trips’ in the future.

Have a look at Beryl's Wish to be a Zoo Keeper for the day.

Can you help with FaNimals?

We are always keen to hear from you if you have Animals or Pets suitable to take into a Care Home, or a local an Animal experience our Essex Care Home Residents could visit and enjoy. Please contact us and we'll get back to you for a chat! We also respond to direct messages on our Facebook page.