• Charlie and Pringle

Two furry friends brightened the day of our Madley Park residents when they waddled into the home.

Two very special guests waddled their way into the hearts of residents at The Orders of St John Care Trust’s (OSJCT) Madley Park care home on Tuesday.

Five-year-old Pringle, and his father, 20-year-old Charlie, who are part of a breeding colony of penguins at Heythrop Zoo, a private zoo, regularly visit care homes to brighten the day of residents.

“It’s always such a joy to see how the residents react to the animals,” OSJCT’s Madley Park’s Activities Coordinator, Carly Willimont, said. “And while we love bringing animals of all shapes and sizes into our homes to put a smile on the faces of our residents, today’s visit is extra special - it’s not every day you get a cuddle with a penguin!”

Caring for an animal has proven health benefits, and a remedy OSJCT often uses in its care homes.

“We have a number of regular pat dogs that visit our homes. Many of our homes have their own pets, generally rabbits - including giant ones - and cats. We also allow residents to bring their animals in with them wherever possible,” OSJCT’s Care Quality Director, Jo Blackburn, said.

As the pair shuffled around the care home, they were fed tasty fish snacks by the residents. Some of the residents were lucky enough to hold the furry critters on their lap and give them a cuddle.

“The penguins are usually very sociable and enjoy human interaction. We find it is quite enriching bringing them into the homes. They live in specially constructed accommodation, which includes nest boxes, designed to look like caves, a pebbled beach and a filtered swimming pool. We always get good feedback from the carers that the penguins are well received by the residents,” a spokesperson from Heythrop Zoo said.

And if Pringle and Charlie weren’t enough to completely boost the atmosphere, pupils from a local school also came along to join in the fun.