Farm animals
Credit: Good Samaritan Society – St. Vincent’s

A lamb, a Highland calf, and an alpaca walk into a nursing home – and, no, it’s not a joke. 

Residents of the Good Samaritan Society – St. Vincent’s in Bismarck, ND, were treated last month to a visit from this trio of farm animals. 

The event was set up by Activities Supervisor Heather Pearson, who recalled a previous visit to the community by a sheep that belonged to the daughter of a former resident. Pearson, who herself grew up on a farm, reached out to Cheryl Woodcock about bringing a sheep or two back again, except this time, she got more than she bargained for.

“She brought in a baby sheep, and we put a diaper on it,” Pearson said.

The three animals garnered plenty of attention from the residents, many of whom had grown up on or around farms. The sheep and Highland calf, were received warmly, but the star of the show was the alpaca, an animal most of the residents were unfamiliar with.

“I had never seen an alpaca before,” said resident Rosella Kuhn.

The Good Samaritan Society is one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit providers of senior care and services with over 300 locations, many of them rural, spread across 22 states. St. Vincent’s has  more than 100 beds and some apartments for its residents.

Resident Florence Meier, was moved by the visiting animals — particularly the calf, which was shaggy and almost burnt orange in color.

“I like calves, we had a lot of calves,” she said. 

For residents like Meier, the visit was a welcome bit of nostalgia and a reminder of the lives they once lived.

As Meier simply put it, “I miss these animals.”