CATONSVILLE, MD (June 12, 2015) -- Mavis Davis laughed hysterically when the baby goat she held licked her face. "He's a sweet pea," said Davis, who once raised goats and many other animals on a family farm in North Carolina. "And he's so good."
Davis was among 50 residents of the continuing care neighborhood at Charlestown retirement community who participated June 12 in a patio Petting Zoo.
They interacted with a pony, a llama, baby goats, bunnies, baby guinea pigs, chicks, ducklings, and micro piglets.
Gloria McCullough once raised chicks, ducklings and geese in Wisconsin. She took to her newfound chick friend -- well, like a duck takes to water. " It's so nice to hold him," she said.
Sammy the llama found a buddy in Shirley Neighoff, who once raised piglets in Baltimore City. "He's as soft as can be," she said.
And Shirley Ambrozak, who grew up on a farm with five horses in Maryland, seemed to relive her childhood when she pet Trixie, a 12-year-old pony. "It felt really good to pet a horse again," she said.
The animals visited Charlestown courtesy of Party Animalz Petting Farm of Brogue, Pennsylvania.
"Bringing together the elderly and farm animals unites two of the most forgotten groups in society," said Denise Puckett, assistant program manager. "Seeing both interact is clear that the benefits are mutual. We see how our residents respond so positively to the animals. The smiles and laughter from our residents are very rewarding."
Rita Kuba and Katherine Kemp, who are neighbors at Charlestown, couldn't agree more. They pet a small bunny who could charm the husk off the corn.
"He's so cute," said Kuba, smiling tenderly.
"It's just wonderful," said Kemp.