Two baby ducks have forged a special friendship with their toddler carer as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 coronavirus health crisis. The ducklings, who usually reside at care village Belong Newcastle-under-Lyme as part of pet therapy for those with dementia, have found themselves temporarily living in the wider community, with a two-year-old girl.

Little Ella-Rose took on the care of ducklings Thunder and Nugget, when her mother Anna Malbon, a carer at the state-of-the-art Belong village, took a turn to look after the animals in her own home for a weekend. The new additions to the care village had been hatched as part of the ‘incredible eggs’ project for Easter celebrations, however they found themselves enjoying an extended stay with Ella-Rose’s family when it became necessary for their hosts to self-isolate due to coronavirus.

The new trio of friends have been making the most of the spring sunshine, enjoying splashes in the paddling pool, story time sessions and even a teddy bears’ picnic. Once the family completes self-isolation, the ducklings will return to their permanent home at Belong Newcastle-under-Lyme, where a new enclosure is currently being built.

Thunder and Nugget’s return to the care village will continue to facilitate the village’s pet therapy.  hrough meeting the ducklings, feeding and bathing them, the interaction with new faces helps those with dementia remember past experiences involving animals and their own families. When the village’s visiting restrictions in relation to Covid-19 are lifted, Ella-Rose will be back to visit her friends in their new home, and visits from local school children will help build even more friendships.

Anna Malbon, Lead Senior Support Worker at Belong Newcastle-under-Lyme, commented: “The village residents have loved the new additions to our community, and we can’t wait to finish self-isolation and introduce the duckling to their new permanent home at Belong. My daughter Ella-Rose has loved looking after Thunder and Nugget, she’s taken to it like a duck to water. It’s nice to have reasons to smile when everything is so challenging at the moment. Seeing residents stroking them and making space for the ducklings on their beds when they visit has been incredibly moving.”

Belong Newcastle-under-Lyme remains open during the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis and visits are restricted to essential family members and carers only. The not-for-profit care village will continue with an Easter activity programme over the weekend, with Easter crafts and competitions for its residents.



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