Care home in Rochdale enjoys visit from therapy sheep

Residents at a Rochdale care home recently enjoyed a surprise visit from a trio of therapy sheep.

The woolly guests form part of a small flock owned and cared for by Emma Jackson, whose Sheep Therapy business continues to grow in popularity.

Mocha, William and Buttercup, were gratefully received by residents at Barley View care home in Whitworth who were all given the opportunity to stroke, hold and even feed the animals.The visit was arranged by the home’s dedicated Activities and Wellbeing Co-ordinator, Gemma Howarth, who originally spotted Sheep Therapy on Facebook.She said:

I thought what a lovely idea! Our residents love animals. “When they’re sat in the activity room at Barley View, the residents always look for the sheep on the hills facing us. “I knew they would love the lambs. Seeing animals brings so much joy and happiness."

For one Barley View resident, the experience provided a welcome reminder of his agricultural background. While feeding one of the lambs, Gordon said:

It feels very natural to me. I used to work on a farm when I was younger. These really are lovely sheep."

Emma Jackson, who runs the small working farm in Stacksteads, believes sheep therapy provides relaxation and bonding between animal and human.

This close bonding can help to reduce stress and anxiety, provide comfort, companionship, boost mood and give confidence.

For Barley View, which offers both residential and specialist dementia care, animal therapies form an important part of their activities schedule.

Pet therapy, or animal-assisted therapy, has been shown to improve mood and increase social interaction among those living with dementia – critical given that this group is at greater risk of isolation and depression.