Petting zoo brings warm fuzzies to senior center residents
BETHLEHEM, Pa. — The residents of the Healthcare Center at Moravian Village retirement community were treated to a visit from babies on Friday.
Baby goats, chickens — and even a lizard — that is.
The visit was set up by Samantha Kukic, activities manager at the center. She said it was a special treat in honor of nursing home week.
- The Peaceable Kingdom petting zoo brought their animals to the Moravian Village nursing home
- The visit was enjoyed by the residents, and the animals too, the owner says
- The event was organized by Samantha Kukic, the activities manager of the home
"We've actually had animals here before, and everybody always has such a good time," Kukic said. "So since it's National Nursing Home week, we thought maybe we would end with the fan favorite."
The Healthcare Center provides skilled nursing for short term or long-term care.
Kukic said she knows the event is popular because last time, one of the baby goats fell asleep in a resident's arms for more than an hour.
"You know, it gets a bad reputation. I've been here for 12 years almost. And we try to have the most fun as we can. I think that you know, occasionally you get a low, in the winter especially, but once it's nice out, we always have a good time."Samantha Kukic, manager of activities at Moravian Village
"She has been talking about that for the entire year," Kukic said. "So we had to get the goats back for her."
Retirement communities are sometimes viewed as bleak places. Kukic agreed, and said that has not been her experience at Moravian Village.
"You know, it gets a bad reputation," she said. "I've been here for 12 years almost. And we try to have the most fun as we can.
"I think that, you know, occasionally you get a low, in the winter especially, but once it's nice out, we always have a good time."
'Can I take him along with me?'
One of the residents, Donald Tshudy, was a big fan of the animals.
Sitting in his chair, he strolled along the petting zoo area and picked up every animal small enough to hold on his lap.
While holding one of the chickens, a Japanese breed with a puffy-looking comb, Tshudy jokingly asked if he could take him home.
"I'll take care of him and let him sit on my desk," he said.
One of the nursing home staff jumped in and said, "We should give you a haircut like that, Donald" with got some laughs. (He does not have much hair.)
Caris Matey, owner of the Peaceable Kingdom petting zoo, the animal supplier, explained to Tshudy that the chicken is Japanese, and a rare breed.
"My brother's Japanese, I should take him along with me," Tshudy said, jokingly.
"A mother knows her children," Matey responded.
Matey said she got into the petting zoo business when her husband bought her a pet goat many years ago, and she fell in love. Then, she said, she saw a petting zoo was up for sale, and bought it.
She said the animals love coming to events like the one on Friday.
"That's when they're the happiest," she said. "Coming out here and getting all the attention."