You can expect to meet 3 animals during your group presentation, but the specific animals you meet will be selected on the day of your program based on a variety of factors (including handler availability, weather considerations, training or veterinary schedules, and the animal’s choice of whether or not to participate). For this reason we cannot tell you in advance which animals you will meet, nor are we able to take special requests. Generally, you can expect to meet a variety of smaller, friendly Animal Ambassadors including small mammals (examples include chinchilla, rabbit, armadillo, guinea pig), birds (such as an owl or parrot), reptiles (such as lizards or small snakes), amphibians (frogs, salamanders), or invertebrate (friendly “bugs” like giant millipedes).
We often get asked for only “cute and cuddly” animals. Our mission is to promote an appreciation for ALL animals because they are all important in their own way. We believe every animal, just like every person, deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. We have found that including scaly and less traditional “cute” critters helps engage residents and provoke conversation, and maximizes our ability to offer touching opportunities. However, we recognize that some individuals have an aversion to certain animals and we respect personal boundaries. We never force any participant to touch or be close to an animal they do not wish to interact with!
If you have a resident with known phobia, or concerns about dementia-related aversive reactions, please discuss these prior to making your reservation. However, in the absence of these factors we strongly encourage you to give all of our Animal Ambassadors a chance. Staff members with a dislike of certain animals should plan to step out of the area while those are being presented. We will happily share with you at check-in which animals we have brought so that those planning decisions can be made.