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Snug Village staff and residents embrace pets and joy

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At Snug Village in Tasmania, the presence of animals is not just a policy — it’s a testament to the love and care that the staff provide, ensuring that every resident feels at home, surrounded by the warmth and companionship of furry and feathered friends.

Photo Credit: Supplied

The presence of animals brings an extra layer of warmth and joy to the lives of aged care residents at Snug Village in Tasmania. A part of Christian Homes Tasmania (CHT), Snug Village offers permanent and respite residential care in a “comfortable, scenic and respectful” environment that welcomes all pets, as long as they are kept under control.

Snug Village Care Coordinator Kathy Coad says dogs need to be on a lead to prevent them running around and becoming a tripping hazard, while cats should be in a box or on a little harness.

“Renee, our leisure and lifestyle team member, brings in her cat on a harness, and it’s wonderful!” says Kathy.

Sadly, Snug Village’s resident cat passed away, leaving fish and pet birds living at the facility. There have also been visits from Guide Dogs, pet dogs and cats, alpacas, ponies and plenty of sheep!

In a staff spotlight, Kathy says, “I’m an animal lover and have a small farm. I like to bring in my animals. I brought a sheep, her name is Ruby, to Snug. She made it [on ABC TV]. She’s a hand-reared triplet - when they’re hand reared, they’re like dogs, you can lead them around. She was a little confused about the windows, but otherwise, she was fine visiting for three hours.

“My daughter has horses. So, we came [to Snug Village] with a miniature pony once – it walked through the facility. I’ve bought all sorts of animals, ducks and chickens - the only thing I haven’t brought are pigs.”

Animal visitors aren’t just for fun, they provide important holistic care for residents, says Kathy in the staff spotlight.

“We’re always making improvements to our facilities and services for the residents. They can ask for anything and we’ll try and support that.  Because we're in Snug, we have a lot of people who have lived in the country. There are a lot of the residents who are ex-farmers and they haven’t seen farm animals in a long time. It’s nice for them to have some of the farm back and to chat about it.

One of the most cherished memories at Snug Village was a wedding ceremony for a pair of budgies! The residents had the idea and had great fun arranging the event, which their chaplain officiated.

“That wedding was really well accepted by everybody,” Kathy recalls. “The residents show a lot of interest in the budgies. They all want to feed them and talk to them, especially when they’re having a bit of a squawk.”

Kathy is a strong advocate for allowing pets in residential aged care facilities.

“It's especially beneficial for country people who have always had animals in their lives. When we had a cat, someone always looked after it. A cat can just curl up and go to sleep on anyone’s bed. That’s why I like bringing them so much. They bring so much pleasure to the residents’ lives.

“I think pets are great! I encourage it and I will bring animals (to Snug) when I can.”

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