May 20, 2021

Showtime in Carthage: animals bring ‘audience’ to tears

CARTHAGE, N.Y. (WWNY) – “Gazelle,” “Salt” and “Pepper” did what comes naturally Thursday, and were a big hit.

“Gazelle” is a small goat, “Salt” and “Pepper” a pair of rabbits, and all of them made an appearance at Carthage Center nursing home.

Linda Cole, who operates “Kasey’s Cast-A-Ways and Fun Farm” in Orange County, brings animals around for the residents every couple of weeks. Cole is employed by the company which operates Carthage Center and dozens of other nursing homes, and drives five hours to bring the animals to Carthage.

Because of COVID-19, the animals can’t go in, so Linda, with goat and bunnies in tow Thursday, went window to window, slowly making her way around the perimeter of the building.

She would walk up to a widow, tap, wave Hi! to whoever was inside, and then hold up the animals for the folks on the other side of the glass to see.

It moved some of them to tears. One woman pushed her hand through a small opening in the window to pet one of the rabbits, and for a long moment, woman and animal just locked eyes on each other. “I love you,” she said.

“I get such a pleasure to walk around a corner with a little creature like a bunny or a goat or a pony and watch these peoples’ faces just light up,” Cole said.

Cole has been making the trek to Carthage long enough that she knows a little bit about the people she sees, and feels it when they aren’t there. It happened Thursday.

“I came to go tap on a window and the lady wasn’t here any more,” she said.

“So getting to know these people over the last five years of coming here, I relate to them, I knew she was a farmer, I knew she loved these animals, and she wasn’t here today. So, that’s the hardest part.

As for the animals, Linda says they’re anything but dumb – they know when it’s showtime.

“They do, they do. As soon as they get their little leashes on, or they get their little outfits on, or they go in the van, it’s their job – they know.”

 

As seen on WNNY.

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