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A horse of course: therapy animal inspires conversation and connection

Date: 31 Jan 2023
Residents at Bupa Northhaven Care Home were treated to a visit from an unlikely guest this week, Raisin a 24-year-old therapy horse.

Many residents who had previously owned or rode horses felt an immediate connection. 

Horse Animal Therapy Bupa Northshore

Jayne Weir, Activities Coordinator at Northhaven talks of the benefit of therapy animals visiting the care home.

“We’ve had a resident who recently joined our Northhaven Care Home who had been struggling socially and reluctant to engage with others. With news of Raisin’s visit, she joined the lounge and stayed for the whole day. It brought people together and was a big breakthrough,” she says.

Raisin is a regular at care homes and retirement villages throughout the North Shore.

“Their eyes widen, smiles go up, our residents are completely engaged. It’s lovely to see,” says Weir. 

Raisin is on track to become a registered therapy animal with Hato Hone St John later this year through their Pet Therapy programme. Owner Ashleigh Haynes explains: “We’ve had Raisin for six years, she’s so gentle.”

“We’ve had an experience where a resident who hadn’t often participated in conversations, meets Raisin and then begins to tell me of her life living on a sheep and beef farm and share memories of her animals. She had the biggest smile, her caregiver was absolutely amazed.

“Animals are a great icebreaker. They get people talking and connecting,” says Haynes.

Northhaven Care Home

142 Whangaparaoa Road, Red Beach, 0932

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