HOMELAKE—The residents at Veterans Community Living Center (VCLC) at Homelake have spent numerous hours this spring enjoying a new visitor named Kiwi. While the residents are used to several types of four-legged visitors through the VCLC Homelake pet therapy program, this new friend, Kiwi, has a remarkable story.
Kiwi was born in mid-March on a farm in the San Luis Valley, close to VCLC Homelake. Born as a triplet, the mother rejected her at birth, since she was the third and smallest baby lamb. Melanie Squire, activity director at Homelake for over 16 years, found the baby lamb in a field close to death. She immediately started bottle feeding the baby lamb and made sure the lamb received care from the local veterinarian.
At her home, Squire has land for the new lamb since she has other animals, including goats, chickens, dogs and cats. Once the baby lamb was cleared from the vet, Kiwi started visiting residents at VCLC Homelake.
Pam Self, marketing director states, “It is amazing to see residents’ faces light up when Kiwi trots down the hall. Our veterans and families often ask how the lamb is doing and take a turn feeding her a bottle. So many of our residents are from the San Luis Valley and were farmers and ranchers, spending their lives around animals. One resident’s daughter even mentioned how her mom lights up every time the lamb is around.”
Eventually, as Kiwi grows, she will have visits with residents on the outside patio. She is planning to visit several times throughout the summer.