Residents and Experience Day customers at Belong Macclesfield were in a flutter when a pair of owls took part in a fly-by, as part of Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT). Pupils from Upton Priory Primary School were also invited along to experience the educational visit.
Spike, a barn owl, and Twiggy, a tawny owl, were brought into the village by keeper, Pam Graham, who enabled residents to interact with the birds of prey – an exercise proven to have therapeutic benefits for older people, particularly those living with dementia.
The visit is part of a varied programme of activities and events for residents and Experience Day customers at Belong Macclesfield, which frequently involves interaction with animals as part of AAT. Belong’s Experience Day service allows visitors from the wider community to take part in these activities and take advantage of village amenities and the specialist dementia support available.
Mary Warrington, a resident at Belong Macclesfield, who turns 101 this month, commented: “It was unexpected to have the opportunity to stroke an owl and wonderful to be up so close to them. To still be doing things for the first time at my age is what makes life here so interesting. Sharing the experience with the local schoolchildren made it even more special.”
Gina Moorjani, experience coordinator at Belong Macclesfield, said: “Everyone had an amazing time! Our customers seemed to get as much benefit from interacting with the children as they did from meeting the owls. I am extremely grateful to Elaine Whitney for our close relationship with Upton Priory Primary School as well as to Pam for bringing the owls in. We shall certainly be doing this again.”