Pet therapy pygmy goats introduced at Greathouse

13 May 2016

Greathouse care home in Chippenham is pioneering new forms of pet therapy, bringing pygmy goats into its centre for disabled people.

Pygmy goat meets resident at Greathouse

We officially unveiled the new pygmy goat centre on Wednesday, ahead of Mental Health Awareness week, to promote the many health benefits of these adorable animals.

'Pygmy goats love to interact with people and will sit on laps to be brushed. It’s amazing how much joy two little pygmy goats bring! They have settled in really well — it’s like they have always been here.' — Rebecca Richards, activities organiser at Greathouse

The goats moved in Greathouse at the beginning of May aged just three months, and have already been helping residents.

'One of our residents had been feeling low, but the arrival of the goats has really lifted their spirits and they are now going out to see them every day.' — Rebecca

Greathouse resident, who is a wheelchair user, petting one of the pet therapy pygmy goats outdoorsThe goats came from Roves petting farm in Swindon.

Nina Hawkins has lived at Greathouse for eight years. She personally helped to chose the goats from the farm.

As gifts in memory of her father, Donald, helped pay for the goat sanctuary, Nina named one of the goats after him. She also picked a female goat called Daisy.

'When Nina’s father passed away, we asked non-family members to give donations rather than flowers to go to Greathouse.

'It was great that Nina went to pick out the goats. I hope they help the other residents living here as well.' — Nina’s mother, Doris

Greathouse resident leaning down to pet one of the pygmy goatsAs well as benefiting Greathouse’s residents and day centre users, Greathouse is welcoming the wider community to meet Donald and Daisy, who are already proving popular with children in the area.

The local freemasons have been keen supporters of the project and were also at the launch party.

The Wiltshire assistant provincial grand master, Steve Bridge, officially opened the goat pen. Cutting the ribbon, he said:

'As part of our tercentenary celebrations in 2017, each freemason lodge is giving 300 hours of time to help the local community. But this is the only one that involves building an animal enclosure. It’s definitely one of our more unusual projects!'

The new goat sanctuary was also supported by local businesses including B&Q and Mole Valley Stores, along with local builders. Members of the public also contributed, including Patricia Ireland, who kindly made the goats’ coats.

The team at Greathouse will continue to be busy in the coming weeks, with their annual dog show scheduled for 22 May. For more information, please contact Greathouse.

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