Pat A Pet – Guinea Pigs Prescribed As Therapy!

It may not sound like news to those who follow this blog regularly but guinea pigs are great therapy.

The reason whee are discussing this now is thanks to a lovely story in The Guardian about Why GP’s are prescribing animal handling sessions for older people.

Barbara, 69, is moved to tears by Baxter the demure guinea pig snuffling in her lap. With her fingers in his fur, she tells the other nursing home residents how she misses her four dogs – Dobermans and Rotweilers. But stroking Baxter is a good substitute. “It feels nice,” she says. “I’m happy.”

At Hawthorn Green nursing home in Tower Hamlets, London, where most residents have dementia, 14 over-60s are petting animals and reminiscing, courtesy of community project Furry Tales. Based at nearby Stepney City Farm, Furry Tales offers therapeutic animal handling sessions to local care homes in the fight against social isolation in vulnerable older people.

The team – comprising two guinea pigs, rabbits Harvey and Splodge, a Pekin Bantam hen, volunteers and manager – has just won a £9,120 innovation bursary from Tower Hamlets clinical commissioning group to run a six-month pilot where GPs refer patients to the scheme.

Image from rikravado hubpages. Click image to go to page

This pilot scheme reminds us of the sadly passed away, world renowned guinea pig expert Peter Gurney (pictured right) and his work with Great Ormond Street Hospital. He took five of his guinea pigs in to spend time with the terminally ill children there.

You may or may not know but Mummy used to be quite unwell when she got her first two guinea pigs Nibbles and Nugget. She always says that without them she wouldn’t be half as confident as she is now. Taming them and gaining their trust was a great way for Mummy to take her mind off how ill she was and in some of her darkest times she had piggy cuddles to get her through them.

Of course this isn’t limited to just guinea pigs. Whee know of dogs and cats who are used as therapy animals and even live near a riding school for disabled children.

This is why whee are squeaking to Mummy about us getting involved in a scheme like this.

Me and Basil would be most likely to be part of it as whee are both furry confident and good at snuggling. Though Basil can be a little badly behaved sometimes he always knows when somefurry is ill and it more gentle.wpid-20140520_183537.jpg

Noah is far too naughty and Nacho is too shy so it is furry much about pigsonalities being matched to this.

Do you know of a scheme like this near you? If you’re involved in anything similar do you have any tips about how to get involved?

Have a great day efurryone




About hutchagoodlife

Tales and adventures from the hutches of British blogging guinea pigs!

Posted on October 8, 2014, in Piggy Blogs and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 33 Comments.

  1. I guessed it: pets can save lifes. and they can make it better. I so agree, that having a piggy can help you to feel better and to shoulder responsibility for a pet can heal a wounded soul.

  2. Animals are absolutely the best therapy for old and young ill people. You’d be such great additions to the scheme guys!

  3. Soft, cuddly – you guys have it all.

  4. you two would be great at doing this,I have often wondered about Speedy being able to do this as well,but we will have to see,xx Rachel

  5. Well as yous know me be a Service cat and meez mostest purrtant job is helpin’ mommy. But weez liv in a backwater awea where peeps not wespect anipals so mommy likes to take evewy oppurrtunity she can to educate da public. So yous bestest bet wuld be to call nursin’ homes and ask ifin yous kuld come in and splain to them what yous wanna do. Yous can also look up Therapy pets online to find a twainin’ facility in yous awea and take da classes and become certified. Good luck.

    Luv ya’

    Dezi and Lexi

    • Thanks for all the advice. Mummy is going to see how she can get certified and then whee will hopefully go from there!


      • Yous welkum. Good luck. Shelters offen know where and hoo givs da classes fur Therapy animals and service animals. Althought y’all just need da therapy twainin’ and it shuld be a bweeze so long as yous like peeps and awe good natured. Hope to hear yous Certification stowwies soon. 🙂

        Luv ya’

        Dezi and Lexi

  6. Therapy animals are just great and we wished they were more wildly used in many more ways. Big or small they can all have a role. Have a wonderful Wednesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  7. This is great news!! I see no reason why piggies haven’t been used before!! I wish I knew more about getting involved though!
    Hugs, Carrie and Pups x

  8. Guinea pigs always put a smile on my face.

  9. I don’t know. Wouldn’t piggies get lost and sat on?

  10. You guys would be wonderful therapy pets! I guess your Mom should start looking for any pet therapy groups in your area or nearby areas and contact them as a way to get started.

  11. You might already know this, but there’s a charity called Pets as Therapy Might be worth dropping them a line to see if they have any scheme in your area?

  12. Oh this is wonderful and would love to be involve din something like this.
    Gus and Milly Sue are such loving snuggles bugs.
    We, unfortunately, lost our Annabelle to old age several weeks ago.

  13. EEoww Buudy what a lubly storey! We fink Mr dr Furney waz a tru trailblazer fer bringin hiz furriez in to da children!! What a pawsum idea 😉
    We not nose what sirivicez are purrvided here….Mum did tell me dat at a place called Gateway Haven up in da town me Dad iz in, haz a few reseedent kittehz what live on each floor n da peepz who like dem take care of dem…dat iz purrty kewl we finkz!
    **nose kissez** Nylablue n Mum too xxxxxx

  14. Me agreez wif ya Nacho n Noah n Buddy n Basil…..
    Hu’Manz need us ALOT!!
    Lub Nylablue 🙂

  15. That’s a fantastic program. I think it’s awesome to include bunnies, hen’s and piggies too. Usually I’ve only heard about dogs and even one lady does hospital visits with her miniature pony. Of course seniors must miss their pets, I sure would. Cute lap photo of yours truly there 😀 You guys are too cute xK

  16. We love your pigsonaity. Great idea to be therapy pigs.

Squeak to us!!!

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