MOVE OVER HAROLD: Jenny Thompson, Harold Tones, Vicki Boyd and Sandy Moerland with Gunther Village's newest residents.
MOVE OVER HAROLD: Jenny Thompson, Harold Tones, Vicki Boyd and Sandy Moerland with Gunther Village's newest residents. Felicity Ripper

Gunther Village gets goats, no kidding

THE transition into an aged care home is a challenge for anyone.

For Harold Tones, who has lived his whole life with open fields and dozens of friendly goats, the move meant giving up his lifestyle of furry friends and freedom... or so he thought.

On Monday, Gayndah's Gunther Village got two new residents, Roco and Julia, the goats.

"We brought them in to help Harold settle in," owner of Jabez Goat Farm Sandy Moerland said.

Lifestyle coordinator Jenny Thompson contacted Mrs Moerland about acquiring some companion goats, and the fellow goat fanatic was happy to donate to the cause.

"We looked at bringing in Harold's own goats but it was going to be too hard to separate them from their large herd," Mrs Thompson said.

"Our Facility manager, Vicki Boyd said 'well, let's find some goats that Harold can look after'."

Roco and Julia were bottle-fed after being rejected by their mother, and are used to having just each other's company.

In addition to Gunther Village's Silkie chickens, the pair will be led around the facility to visit residents' rooms.

"We're trying to bring more pet therapy to our facility because it's proven to reduce depression, loneliness and anxiety in patients with Alzheimer's and dementia," Mrs Thompson said.

"Their faces tell a story; once they're handling animals they're relaxed and calm, and it brings out words."

Harold immediately bonded with the goats, checking their health and cleaning off any burs.

"I've had goats since I was a child," he said.

"Once you bond with them, you bond with them forever."

As for Paro, the robotic seal who made waves a couple of months back, Gunther Village Opportunity Shop raised enough funds to purchase the therapeutic invention.

Gayndah's Golden Orange Hotel is now raising funds to purchase a second Paro.


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