ANIMALS

Goats, other animals used in senior therapy

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Some local senior communities are turning to goats and other unusual animals for a unique form of therapy.

Goats are used as therapy for the elderly. (Photo: WJLA)

At a Rockville nursing home, therapy animals come in all shapes and sizes. There's a sheep named Liam, bunnies named Clover and Jean-Claude and even two chickens named Daisy and Raisin.

Serendipity farm owner Karen Buscemi brings the animals with help from the Leo Club at MaGruder High School.

“When we come and bring these animals we know we make someone's day just a little bit better,” says Eavan Ring, a MaGruder High School student.

Near Baltimore, Broadmead Senior Community regularly welcomes baby goats for its "farm fun" program.

“I didn't really know what to expect until I came down and I saw all these animals and people and thought, ‘Oh my sweet mother,’” says resident Dorothy Kelly.

Pam and Allison Miller have been bringing the goats from Charlottetown Farm for five years.

“We take them around to residents, let residents hold them, pet them, feed them,” Miller says.

While studies show interacting with animals can benefit the elderly both physically and emotionally, for the residents, it's time to reminisce.

“We had dogs and cats most of my life as I grew up,” says one resident, Steve Silver.

The residents find comfort and most of all, feel loved.

“They may not be real verbal, they might have all different levels of cognitive decline but it opens them up in a very magical way,” says Harriet Ambrose, Broadmead Director Of Lifestyle.

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