Westminster Assisted Living experiences farm living with a visit from Step-by-Step Petting Zoo

(Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The “gobble gobble” of a fat turkey could be heard all-around as the courtyard as Westminster Assisted Living was transformed Thursday afternoon to the Westminster barnyard. Residents of the assisted living and memory care were visited by the furry and feathered friends from Step-by-Step Petting Zoo. Thursday’s petting zoo put a smile on everyone’s face and was a step toward a return to pre-COVID-19 activities.  

After seeing a social media post from Step-by-Step Petting Zoo of their visit to the Westminster Assisted Living in Decatur, staff immediately arranged to have the animals visit the residents here in Cullman. The Williams family from New Market brought their trailer full of friendly critters that reminded several of the residents of being youngsters growing up on the farm.  

They laughed as Prince the llama made his rounds and joyfully reminisced about the other more familiar visitors. One resident giggled, “Well, we didn’t have any llamas! That’s for sure!” A miniature horse named Old Man, mother and son goats, Tulip and Cocoa and a bunny named Caramel were just a few of the animals featured in the petting zoo.  

After petting all the animals, staff treated residents to popcorn, Popsicles and soda. The popcorn piqued the goats’ interest as well and the residents generously shared theirs with the goats. Some residents kept a watchful eye on their tomato plants as the goats and llama made their rounds, but all-in-all, everyone had a wonderful time.  

Westminster Director Wanda Raines said, “It’s a small step as we ease back into normal activities. This is a big day for us and the residents are having so much fun.” Several staff members spoke of the concerns of residents becoming bored during the shutdown but the residents we spoke to, although they were excited to have visitors, had no complaints regarding their time during the pandemic.  

Step-by-Step Petting Zoo is available for on-site visits to various facilities including long-term care and day care facilities. To contact them, email Deborah Williams as trcstepbystep@gmail.com or call 256-457-9064. You can also follow them on Facebook.  

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