Tyson enjoys affection from Anne Keeper at the Wood Retirement Village. Photo: Jonty Dine.

Horsing around at The Wood


Residents of the Wood Retirement Village were brought to tears of happiness as Tyson, the part-Clydesdale horse made a house call to the rest home on Thursday morning as part of the PetConnect initiative.

Although he was named after the baddest man on the planet, Mike Tyson, the friendly and gentle natured horse isn’t likely to bite your ear off.

Tyson lapped up the adoration as he enjoyed pats and kisses from the residents.

Breffni O’Rourke of Age Concern Nelson Tasman says a number of elderly are longing for animal companionship and PetConnect Nelson Tasman is about connecting older people with the “unconditional love of animals.”

“Imagine being told you could no longer have your pets in your life. Imagine how much you would miss their touch, their company, the sounds they make.”

She says many older people are forced to give up their animals when they move into smaller accommodations and some make the hard choice not to replace the ones they have because they do not want to outlive them.

“But they miss them and PetConnect sees willing animal owners come and share their animals with older people who really appreciate having them around.”

Breffni says although the animals are the focus, it is also an opportunity for new friends to be made, good conversations to be had and generations to come together.

She says Age Concern is hugely proud of the difference the PetConnect volunteers make to the people they visit.