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'Celebrating Stampede finally': Calgary seniors enjoy some horsing around

Residents at Amica Britannia welcomed Rainbow the pony as part of Calgary Stampede celebrations. Residents at Amica Britannia welcomed Rainbow the pony as part of Calgary Stampede celebrations.

Seniors at the Amica Britannia retirement residence kicked off their week with some Stampede-themed fun on Monday.

In the first of a three-day series of Stampede spirited events, residents and staff got the opportunity to meet Rainbow, a pony from Butterfield Acres. Rainbow and her trainer were on site in the early afternoon to greet and take photos with residents.

"We're celebrating Stampede finally," said Amica Britannia's general manager, Nimeera Shamji.

"We've got the ponies in and the residents absolutely love spending time with them. It's also a form of therapy, the animals being in the building."

Shamji says a few of their residents had grown up on ranches and have been surrounded by animals all their life.

"So absolutely, this brings back memories and a great feeling of Stampede as well, which has been a tradition here."

Claudia Skyler is a resident at Amica Britannia and she says she feels a special connection with Rainbow the pony.

“Well, I love animals. I grew up on our little farm in Switzerland so animals to me, you know, they're alive and I enjoy them,” she said.

"They know if you really like them, you know, it's the feeling they have when you're touching them.”

Shamji says navigating the pandemic and weighing the social needs and the healthcare needs of the residents hasn't been easy.

"Of course, mental health has been a huge, huge issue and I think the lack of interaction with other residents, family and friends has had a huge impact on so many of our residents," said Shamji. "This is a wonderful way for us to be able to open it up and have visitors come in.”

Later this week, residents will get to enjoy an in-house, staff run costume contest and a pancake breakfast, which is also open to visitors. Top Stories

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