People often speak of things they wish they’d done and never got around to. Thankfully, many of these experiences still have time to come true!
That’s what happened to Joyce Gardner, a 99-year-old great grandmother who lives in a care home in the U.K. When she first arrived at Bernadette House, she was asked to make a wish. Little did she know her unusual request would be taken seriously!
“Some people ask for a certain type of cake or a specific film,” said Elizabeth Stephens, the owner of the home. “But Joyce asked to meet a penguin, which was a first for us.”
It took three months, but Elizabeth made it happen! She got in touch with Heythrop Zoological Gardens, which has several penguins that are used to “acting” and appearing on camera. Three ended up visiting: Pringle, Groot, and Charlie.
These adorable birds are “incredibly social,” so they don’t mind when humans (including complete strangers) pick them up, pet them, and talk to them. In other words, they were perfect for the home! Not only did Joyce and her neighbors get to meet the penguins, but they also got to interact with them.
“I’ve always loved animals, especially penguins,” Joyce said. “To meet one in real life was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.”
And she wasn’t the only one who thought so! Elizabeth said she’s “always looking for something different to entertain the residents,” which made granting this wish particularly special. After all, getting to know three penguins is something most of us can only imagine!
Even better, these little birds can be considered support animals. Studies have shown that contact with friendly animals can reduce stress levels and relax people, and what could be more soothing than hanging out with these precious penguins?
We’re so glad Joyce and her neighbors got to enjoy this unique moment. It just goes to show that it’s never too late to follow your dreams, no matter how unlikely they may seem.
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