Whilst looking at ways to reduce the use of behavioural management medication we looked at studies focused on the benefits of pet therapy.
We had a lot of land spare and decided to create a small petting area to enable use to keep some small pets for our residents. Evidence suggests that watching and petting animals’ releases serotonin and oxytocin brain happy hormones. We witnessed this first-hand, our residents appear visibly calmer and happier following animal interactions.
We noticed some residents preferred to watch animals rather than have hands on contact.
This led us to want to offer a wider range of animals and so the petting farm began to develop. We now have a wide variety of animals that residents can both observe and pet providing an activity for all services users and their friends and family.
Our petting farm enables us to offer a wealth of activity including grooming & pet therapy, animal walks, visual stimulation and occupational therapy. Since the development of the farm we have seen an increase of younger visitors and a reduction in challenging behaviour.