Cheeky Charlie the donkey works his charm with patients

By News Team on July 31, 2018

Our patients got to experience an element of the traditional seaside when a therapy treasure and former beach donkey Charlie came to visit.

Charlie was one of a group of donkeys who worked in Scarborough before coming to live at The Donkey Sanctuary’s Manchester centre, where he is involved in assistive therapy.

Now, aged 10, he left best friend Pringle for a morning, to visit staff, carers, patients and their loved ones at our hospice in Heald Green.

The visit was arranged by Manchester Health and Care Commissioning (MHCC) – a partnership between Manchester NHS clinical commissioning Group and Manchester City Council-  as part of their ongoing plans to bring more personal choice in where and how people receive palliative care. It also represents the holistic and flexible nature of hospice care.

During the visit Charlie, who is known for his love of ginger biscuits, met patients and staff in the courtyard and went to bedroom windows so that everyone could see him.

Day care patient Genevieve Grey, 80, was especially happy to meet Charlie.

I’ve always loved animals. If I was able to I’d have him, I’d want him to come to live with me and I’d build a shed or shelter for him. Genevieve Grey
Donkeys have a natural emotional intelligence and react positively to human contact. There’s something very pure about seeing an animal in front of you. There’s no judgement and it takes a lot of people back to their childhood. Adele Crompton, An equine coach and coordinator who has worked at The Donkey Sanctuary in Manchester
Everyone loves a donkey. There is something unique about these wonderful animals and the effect they have on people. It was a pleasure to welcome Charlie and Adele to the hospice, and our patients, staff and volunteers loved meeting them. Charlie was a real hit with everyone, and his visit is proof that no two days are ever the same at St Ann’s. Hospices use a holistic approach to care, which acknowledges every patient is an individual and goes the extra mile to ensure that those unique needs are met.  Whether that’s answering a patient’s wish for a takeaway meal for supper, planning a wedding for a family at short notice, or arranging special visits from guests like Charlie, we’re always happy to help create those special memories. Eamonn O’Neal, Chief Executive of St Ann’s

It’s actually not that unusual to have animal visits at St Ann’s, we often have visits from Pets as Therapy (PAT) dogs, plus we’ve had other donkey’s and we’ve even had an Owl come to visit our patients!

Also, carers can bring pets into the hospice (with prior agreement) so that patients can spend time with them, which we’ve found really comforts patients and brightens their day, and often everyone around them!

Find out more about how we go the extra mile

Read our blog post 'Raising smiles when it matters most' to hear how we have done that for many of our patients.

Read more