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Animal therapy brings nursing home residents smiles and laughter

A unique kind of therapy has found its way to Mid Missouri, and it comes with smiles, comfort, and laughter to all (Elizabeth Hoffman KRCG)

A unique kind of therapy has found its way to Mid Missouri, and it comes with smiles, comfort, and laughter to all. After a short bus ride from Jefferson City to Osage County, The Where Pigs Fly Farm awaits Villa Marie Nursing Home residents.

The farm offers a type of therapy that can only be found outdoors.

There are turkeys, dogs, cats, and well, pigs of course. For the residents, it's like taking a step back in time.

"I always wanted one when I was a kid," resident Ruth Aunger said.

"I've never seen them this relaxed, unless it's Elvis performing for them," Dementia Practicitoner Jennifer Key explained with a laugh.

She said animal therapy does wonders for her residents.

"It's just the touch that they desire and it's wonderful. They just seem so relaxed," Key said. "The animals and my residents are just like bonding like crazy!"

'Bonding so strong, some of the animals even get names, "Miss Piggy and Mr. Piggy,"' Ruth proudly said as she held a pot-bellied pig.

The residents love all the animals here, especially a cockatoo named Pretty Girl.

"My mom used to have them, parrots that would talk like this," resident Connie Gibson said.

And while day brings obvious joy to the residents, perhaps the animals enjoy the therapy just as much as their visitors.

The owner of the Where Pigs Fly Farm said word is spreading; many nursing homes and organizations throughout the state are booking animal therapy of their own.


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