These Penguins Comfort Residents in a Senior Care Home

The wish of one resident in the English home became a reality enjoyed by all.

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- Posted on Apr 24, 2020

Joyce Gardner and a Humboldt penguin.

New residents at the Bernadette House, a senior care home in Lincoln, England, are asked to make a wish when they move in. But Joyce Gardner, 99, didn’t ask for just anything—she wanted to meet a penguin.

“I’m always looking for something different to entertain the residents, so…I thought it was a great idea,” home director Elizabeth Stephens told Birmingham Live.

A few months after Gardner’s request, Pringle, Charlie and Groot—three Humboldt penguins who are no strangers to the limelight—were waddling around the Bernadette House. Originally from Chile, the two-foot-tall birds live at Heythrop Zoological Gardens and often work at events or on camera.

Gardner’s wish turned out to be a gift for all—her peers enjoyed the unique visitors, who sat on the seniors’ laps with the help of a handler. “Most of our residents live with dementia, and animal and bird therapy is very calming and therapeutic,” Stephens told the BBC.

For Gardner, it was unforgettable. “I’ve always loved animals, especially penguins,” she told Birmingham Live. “To meet one in real life was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.”

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