Dietary aide makes it her mission to bring exotic animal handler to Burnbrae Gardens

Pictured above, resident Phillip Ash wanted to “wear” a python that was among many exotic animals that visited Burnbrae Gardens on May 19.

Janet McInroy inspired by success Zoo To You program had with Streamway Villa residents

Dietary aide Janet McInroy was watching an OMNIway video story about Zoo To You recently visiting Streamway Villa when the idea came to her to bring the exotic animal handler to Burnbrae Gardens.

Upon seeing Streamway Villa’s residents enjoying their time with lizards, a chinchilla and snakes, among many other animals, Janet thought Burnbrae Gardens’ residents would also be interested in a visit from Zoo To You.

Burnbrae Gardens resident Miriam Kurita visits with a new furry friend.

“Janet saw that story and she said, ‘Wouldn’t this be great to have Zoo to You here – the residents would love this,’ ” Burnbrae Gardens director of care Lesley Maguire tells The OMNIway.

Janet pitched the idea to residents during one of their council meetings. The residents were immediately on board with the idea.

Janet got to work organizing a bake-sale fundraiser on her own time to collect the money needed to bring the folks from Zoo To You to the Campbellford long-term care home.

With the help of other staff members, Janet got to work baking pies, brownies and cookies to be sold at a bake sale the home hosted. The sale raised about $300.

“And Janet came in on her time off to bring (items) in for the bake sale, and then she came in on the day we had Zoo To You here because she wanted to see the residents enjoying it,” Lesley says.

With the funds raised, Zoo To You came to Burnbrae Gardens on May 19. Residents enjoyed their visit with all the exotic animals, which included a python, a chinchilla, a rabbit and even a small alligator.

“Even some of the residents who are not always that verbal, they enjoyed it – it was amazing,” Lesley says.

“The residents had the time of their lives. They even brought it up again today at their residents’ council meeting and asked when we could do it again. … One of the residents said, ‘That’s the most fun I’ve had in years.’ ”

Given the event’s success, Janet is already looking at organizing another fundraiser to invite Zoo To You back to the home, Lesley says.

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