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Welty Residents Spend Time With Baby Animals

Why do most people love small animals? The Harris Poll found a few years ago that 90 percent of pet owners consider their dogs and cats to be members of the family.

Residents of Welty Home, an assisted living option in Wheeling, find pet visits to be a highlight of their activities schedule.

Tess Gaudino, Welty Home manager, said animal visits attract even those residents who don’t usually participate in group activities. “Pets just touch our hearts,” she said.

Recently a Welty Home activity aide brought baby animals to work to visit with the residents. David Callihan, who lives on a farm in St. Clairsville owned by his friend Ed Bartnicki, transported 1-week-old goats named Carmella and Storm and 3-week-old lambs named Aphrodite and Ramses in pet carriers to Welty Home.

The babies caused quite a stir among the retired Welty Home residents. “Our residents were so joyful,” Gaudino said. “They talked about it all day.”

Callihan added that being around baby animals seems to make everybody happy. “Our residents were so excited. I saw so many smiles. They just loved it,” he said.

Residents fed, petted and cuddled the baby animals in Welty Home’s garden. Here’s a sampling of residents’ reaction:

“I just loved seeing those dear little animals. I got a kick out of watching the baby lambs belly grow during bottle feeding and watching their little tails going. Did my heart good.” — Penny Vance

“I thought it was great! It made me feel like I was back home.”— Patricia Lucia

“I think it was a good idea because a lot of people have not been around animals and I think they enjoyed seeing them. We talk about David’s farm animals a good bit and was nice to finally see them in person.” — Deloris Blakemore

“The lambs and goats were unusual because of their markings. And I enjoyed seeing them. I was glad I decided to go outside to see them.” — Ralph Lucas

“That was wonderful! I enjoyed seeing all of them.” — Hazel Hudock

“Being a farm girl of many years, it was such a good time with Dave and his animals. I enjoyed watching the other residents with the animals. Some of the others got to bottle feed the lambs while myself and some others got to sit around holding the goats. They were only a week old. Such joy and memories!” –Sondra Cecil

Callihan received permission to bring the baby goats and lambs after his first pet visit was very successful. “A while ago I brought in some of our pet rabbits, and the residents really seemed to enjoy them,” he said.

Gaudino said Welty Home may ask Callihan to bring some of his pets to the Welty Home’s annual carnival for residents and their families. “Our carnival is always a highlight of the summer,” she said. “Having a petting zoo could make it even better.”

Welty Home of Wheeling, founded in 1950 through a donation from Wheeling resident Clara Welty, is part of a range of senior living options provided by the nonprofit Welty Corp. Readers of the Wheeling Newspapers Readers’ Choice Awards rate Welty Home as the area’s top assisted living program.

Other Welty properties include Good Shepherd Nursing Home, Clara Welty Apartments, Bertha Welty Apartments, Braddock Apartments and the new Welty TownHomes, all in Wheeling.

For information about any Welty property, visit www.weltyhome.org or call Tawnya Knierim at 304-242-1093.

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