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Alpacas bring joy to residents at Buckingham Lodge Nursing Home, near Watton

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Animal therapy is a proven way of putting smiles on faces and lifting the mood of residents in care homes.

Visitors are usually small animals such as dogs or cats but the staff and residents at Buckingham Lodge Nursing Home, in Carbrooke, near Watton, this week welcomed a far more exotic species – alpacas.

The special visitors - more associated with South America than south Norfolk – were brought to the home by Tom Boggan and his team from Wymondham Alpacas. His enterprise is based at Centre Paws at Barnards Farm.  

People can book “alpaca experiences”, which include a walk with the animals around the farm, and when the Covid lockdowns ended Mr Boggan started care home visits. 

He said: “They are fantastic animals that have a natural calming effect. People who go on the walks remark on how relaxing it is. 

“You see the residents’ faces light up.”

Buckingham Lodge manager Marie Cherry said: “Our residents love to see the alpacas. For people living with dementia, animal therapy can be a powerful way to lift their mood and make them relaxed.

“We enjoy welcoming other animals into the home, including visits by the Miniature Donkeys for Wellbeing.”

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