Olive Tozer with ‘Oddbod’ and friends. Photo: ANDREW PERRYMAN

Golden Oaks Nursing Home was filled with laughter and a pinch of mayhem earlier this week when Kerran Norwood brought in her animals and puppets as part of a therapy session with the residents.

Officially called Oddbod and Friends – a name which covers all bases – Ms Norwood uses the animals and puppets to encourage interaction between herself and the elderly residents who are often restricted by the effects of dementia.

The noise level generally lifts when the dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs and birds plus music contribute to the general conversation.

“We deliver happiness and friendship to our seniors, and indeed we go to the very bedside of confined and gravely ill people,” Ms Norwood said.

Her leisure and health-based program boosts morale, engages the senses and supports love and friendship.

Explaining her motivation for creating the program Ms Norwood said she suffered from depression for 19 years and lived an isolated life.

“It was my animals that saved me,” she said. “When I was lonely I had the
unconditional support of the animals.

“Then once I started working with residents it made me realise how fulfilling it was to help other people.”

Ms Norwood said she was looking to attract sponsors and fundraisers to enable her to continue the work.

She can be contacted on oddbodandfriends@gmail.com