Bethany Nursing Home residents cuddle up to Aussie wildlife
THE power of animals to put smiles on people's faces has seldom been better demonstrated than it was at Rockhampton's Bethany Nursing Home recently.
Carers from Wildlife Rockhampton brought a selection of native wildlife to the nursing home, where residents enjoyed the rare opportunity to meet and greet, hold and - as Dr Doolittle proposed - talk to the animals.
The wildlife was chosen by the carers from among the dozens the group currently holds in care as they recover from injury or illness. Many are orphans rescued from the pouches of their mothers after being struck by cars and left by drivers to die on the sides of roads.
Wildlife Rocky - which has been approved by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection to look after wildlife throughout the Rockhampton and Livingstone local government areas.
They provide round-the-clock rescue and rehabilitation services until the animals are fit to return to the wild.
Speaking on behalf of the carers who visited Bethany on Saturday morning, Wildlife Rocky's Julie Robertson said it had been hugely rewarding to bring the nursing home residents and animals together for a couple of hours.
"To see the reactions on the residents' faces made it all so worthwhile," Ms Robertson said.
"Wildlife Rocky also has an educational role, aimed at helping people gain a better and closer understanding of wildlife and their habitats."
Ms Robertson said the event had been warmly welcomed by the carers..
"We appreciated the invitation...it was a real pleasure to meet veryone at Bethany and introduce them to our friends.
"And the catering was wonderful. I think even a few of the animals managed to find a way to enjoy the food," she said.
Ms Robertson said Wildlife Rocky had an urgent message for the public in light of Cyclone Marcia.
"Many people who have found injured or sick animals seem to have waited days before contacting us, perhaps thinking they could look after the animal themselves - only to find out they couldn't.
"Our message to them is: Contact us straight away. Every minute's delay in receiving expert care can worsen the animal's prospects."