YOU may have heard of dogs being used for animal therapy – but what about penguins?

Two very special guests waddled their way into the hearts of the elderly residents at Madley Park care home yesterday.

Five-year-old penguin Pringle, and his father, 20-year-old Charlie, are part of the breeding colony of penguins at Heythrop Zoo – a private zoo in Chipping Norton.

But the pair took time out to visit the care home in Madley Way, Witney, and brighten up many residents' day.

Carly Willimont, activity coordinator of home operator the Order of St John Care Trust's, said: "It’s always such a joy to see how the residents react to the animals.

"And while we love bringing animals of all shapes and sizes into our homes to put a smile on the faces of our residents, this visit is extra special – it is not every day you get a cuddle with a penguin."

Pupils from Madley Brook School and Springfield School, both in Witney, also joined in the fun.

The care home said caring for an animal has had proven health benefits for residents and Pringle and Charlie definitely proved to be a hit.

They usually live in specially constructed accommodation at the zoo, including nest boxes that look like caves, a pebbled beach and a filtered swimming pool.

Care quality director Jo Blackburn said: "We have a number of regular 'pat dogs' that visit our homes.

"Many of our homes have their own pets, generally rabbits and cats."