‘Golden Girls’ find new home at Forest Hill

Three guinea pigs, who have become permanent guests at the home, were each named after a character from the hit TV series

Forest Hill recently welcomed Golden Girls Dorothy, Blanche and Rose as permanent guests.

But these aren’t the famed television Golden Girls you’re probably thinking of but rather three guinea pigs who have been adopted by the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home, thanks to a collaboration with Guinea Pig Rescue Ottawa.

Guinea Pig Rescue Ottawa, a shelter for guinea pigs needing homes, launched a project to help bring the small animals to long-term care homes to serve as therapy pets.

Forest Hill is the first long-term care home to partner with the shelter.

“We just happened to contact them at the right time because that was when they were starting this initiative,” life enrichment co-ordinator Craig Forrest tells The OMNIway.

“We were the first home for them to try this with.”

The shelter provided Forest Hill with the guinea pigs as well as two cages – a large one that houses the Golden Girls and a smaller one for transporting the pets between floors.

Hay, water bottles and food dishes were also provided at no cost. To thank the charity, Forest Hill made a donation to help Guinea Pig Rescue Ottawa continue its service.

Craig says residents are enjoying their new housemates, who moved to Forest Hill shortly after Golden Girls cast member Betty White passed away on Dec. 31, aged 99.

White, who played Rose Nylund on the hit TV show, was a renowned animal welfare advocate, so residents and staff decided to name the guinea pigs after three of the Golden Girls characters, Craig says.

Craig notes the guinea pigs get excited at feeding time and make chirping noises, which residents get a kick out of.

“Residents congregate around the guinea pigs – they really enjoy seeing them, especially around feeding time or when they are getting treats,” he says.

“It has been a really big success so far and the residents have really enjoyed it.”

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PHOTO CAPTION: Forest Hill resident Ieta Van Heukelom is pictured here with guinea pigs Rose and Dorothy.