Rosie the pig eating some of her birthday cake during a celebration for her first birthday with residents, staff and family members of residents at Czorny Alzheimer Centre on Saturday, April 27, 2019. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Surrey

Lower Mainland Alzheimer centre celebrates therapy pig’s first birthday

Staff throw party for Rosie the pig

Kerry Netherton says the residents of Czorny Alzheimer Centre in Cloverdale love to celebrate, so when it came time for the first birthday of their unofficial ambassador, Netherton said they began planning a party “like you would anybody else for their first birthday party.

The catch? Their ambassador is Rosie – a mini pig.

The residents, staff and family members of Czorny Alzheimer Centre got together Saturday (April 27) to celebrate Rosie’s first birthday.

Netherton, the program co-ordinator of the recreation department at Czorny, said planning for Rosie’s party began about two months ago, adding that the residents love to celebrate.

“We have seen that she’s been such an asset to our place. Everybody knows Rosie,” she said. “It seemed like it was going to be such a big project, and then we got her and time has flown.”

Getting Rosie, Netherton said, was about a six-month process that involved plenty of research including whether mini pigs are available in Canada, what would it take to care for a pig, could you house them inside and how would staff integrate a pig into daily programming.

“Upon doing my research, I discovered that they’re one of the four smartest animals,” Netherton said. “They’re clean. They’re hypoallergenic. They’re potty-trained. they’re trick trained. You can leash train them, and they’re also capable of emotions, so they’re quite vocal, they’re quite social.”

Netherton said that pet therapy is known for decreasing isolation, increasing socialization and alleviating loneliness in people.

“Not only has Rosie been hugely beneficial to the residents, but our staff, volunteers, families, they’ve all blended together to become a part of her life as well,” she said.

“It can be a struggle to visit people that have advanced dementia, what do you say when they can respond back? This has kind of bridged that when people will bring in the grandchildren now because now they have a purpose, they can bring their loved one down in to see Rosie and Rosie can be a part of that visitation, which makes it that much easier for someone who is maybe struggling with their communication.”

One of those people that’s been impacted by Rosie is Carmen Arndt, whose husband is a resident at Czorny.

“I was quite surprised at the beginning that they were even getting a pig,” Arndt said. “A care home having a pig was actually sort of way out of the ordinary for me. I mean, I’d heard of therapy animals and bringing in dogs or cats, or even horses, but never a pig. Never a live-in pig for that matter.”

But in the past year, Arndt has grown close to Rosie.

“She’s just been awesome to have here. She’s kind of like the ambassador to Czorny. She greets new families and keeps the kids coming back — that’s a big thing. The kids all want to visit her… She just makes the visit a little bit easier. It’s something to look forward to.”

Arndt said she usually visits her husband in the evenings when no one else is around.

“When I come, she’s kind of mine,” said Arndt, adding that staff was “very open” to Arndt bringing Rosie in to visit her husband. “He actually knows her name, which is amazing because he doesn’t really remember too much of anything. When I say, ‘Hey, I’m going to bring Rosie,’ he lights up.

“Part of the reason why I am involved with her is because I do see that reaction, and I know how beneficial it is.”

Rosie also has a Facebook page that Netherton updates: Rosie’s Life.

READ ALSO: Surrey principal kisses pig as part of deal with students, March 15, 2019



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Lauren on Twitter

 

Rosie the pig eating some of her birthday cake during a celebration for her first birthday with residents, staff and family members of residents at Czorny Alzheimer Centre on Saturday, April 27, 2019. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Just Posted

Lofty plans for Chilliwack school district revealed

Chilliwack school district draws up plan to add 2,900 student seats in five years

Agassiz study to look at drone use for pesticide application

The study will be the first in Canada to use drones to apply pesticides to farm fields

Chilliwack’s pediatric observation unit gets financial shot from trades workers

Unions and contractors donate more than $30,000 to Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation

Delays en route for Highway 7 in Harrison Mills

Road resurfacing will cause month-long delays for drivers travelling through Harrison Mills

The luckiest man in Agassiz finds more than 200 four-leaf clovers

Walt Hardinge has found more than 219 four-or-more leaf clovers this spring alone

B.C.’s fight to regulate bitumen through pipelines to go to Canada’s top court

BC Appeal Court judges found B.C. cannot restrict bitumen flow along Trans Mountain pipeline

Burnaby facility to dispose of 1,500 tonnes of Canada’s trash from Philippines

All 103 containers will be disposed of properly within Canada before the end of the summer

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

Man wants guilty plea revoked in 2012 collision in Abbotsford that killed Chilliwack woman

Michael Larocque was charged in relation to crash that killed Eileen Kleinfelder

High-risk sex offender released into Surrey

Earon Wayne Giles, a Newton “tag-team rapist,” was released from prison Friday and is now living in Surrey

Vancouver woman sexually assaulted after man follows her home; suspect at large

Police are looking for an Asian man in his 40s after the incident on Vancouver’s east side.

B.C. man, 30, arrested for driving his parents’ cars while impaired twice in one day

The Vancouver-area man was arrested after officers caught him driving impaired twice in one day

UPDATE: Vancouver man dies after crash between motorcycle, transport truck

Police believe speed was a factor in Thursday collision

Trial slated to start Monday for accused killer of Abbotsford cop

Oscar Arfmann faces first-degree murder for death of Const. John Davidson

Most Read