At Ashfield Gardens, people and animals alike know they can depend on Tom. Rain or shine, he comes every evening with his support worker to feed the animals and bring them into their pens for the night.
‘Tom is such a great help,’ says Farm Manager Jenny. ‘I don’t know what we’d do without him.’
Practice makes perfect for Tom
‘I’ve been bringing the animals in at night for the last couple of years,’ says Tom. ‘So it only takes me about 15 minutes now. They’re usually hungry by then, so they come in fairly quickly.’
There are many other people helping to look after Ashfield Gardens’ animals, and getting involved brings its own rewards.
‘Feeding, watering, mucking out and grooming are all very regular jobs,’ explains Jenny. Having a familiar routine makes it easier for people to get involved, and that can be a great confidence boost.’
The feel-good factor
Everyone at the garden loves Tom’s two white ducks – he’s hand-reared them so they are tame and friendly. So too are the Kune Kune pigs, who like nothing better than having their bellies tickled! ‘I’m glad I’m getting experience of working with animals,’ says Tom. ‘But it’s relaxing being around them too.’