Furry friends give visit to Ridgehaven in Monto
A WAVE of emotion spread through Betsy Blears as she held a piglet for the first time in her life.
"I've never had any animals or really been around them, except mice at one point," she said.
"The joy of it - it's so lovely to feel the piglet responding and being so quiet and showing that it's enjoying itself as much as I am."
Ms Blears was not the only resident to experience a first when a range of furry creatures visited Ridgehaven Retirement Complex in Monto.
Resident Trish Keitley held an animal for the first time ever, and chose a guinea pig for the milestone.
Activities coordinator Charmaine Smith said it took a while for Ms Keitley to warm up to the idea, but the wait was worth it.
"For the first two and a half hours, Trish was inside peeking through the window having a look at what's going on," she said.
"Then she got the courage to go touch, and then hold one."
With chooks, goats, pigs, guinea pigs and a cheeky alpaca roaming outside the Ridgehaven, anything could happen.
"A few of them tried to come inside - I think it's the cool breeze from the air conditioner that they were after," Ms Smith said.
Facility manager Dean Cook said the animal therapy was so successful that the animals would definitely be back.
"Hopefully next time we'll make it bigger, and have little kiddies come along too," he said. "It has been a really emotional day.
"The background of many of residents really suits the theme of the farm animals, and brought memories back for them."