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Homerton dementia patient remembers tortoise-breeding past in pet therapy session

PUBLISHED: 12:00 04 September 2014 | UPDATED: 12:00 04 September 2014

A pet therapy session at the East London NHS Foundation Trust's older adult service, The Lodge, in Homerton

A pet therapy session at the East London NHS Foundation Trust's older adult service, The Lodge, in Homerton

Archant

Older people with mental illness and dementia came face to face with a skunk and a snake in a pet therapy session aimed at reducing stress, aggression and frustration.

Joining Stoosh the skunk were Moshi the tortoise, Kyuss the Corn Snake, Sebastian the chinchilla, Beanz the border collie and Tinkerbell the rabbit with their owner Dale Preece-Kelly, from Critterish Allsorts.

The inpatients were introduced to each of the pets, one by one, and invited to take a closer look.

One suddenly remembered she had bred tortoises in the past, with the flash of recaptured memory lighting up her eyes, bringing her carer to tears.

When feeling threatened, skunks can use their anal scent glands as a defensive weapon, but Stoosh was well behaved, falling asleep on one patient’s lap.


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