A girl who just wanted to make as many people smile as possible has been raising money for our hospices.

Lexi Cowham, 7, from Corwen has been visiting care homes for the elderly and taking miniature ponies and more exotic animals for the residents to enjoy.

Her mum and step dad, Joanne and David Turner run the fully mobile Animal Encounters who specialise in giving everybody the opportunity to safely benefit from animal therapy.

Lexi on a visit to Hope House in Oswestry with some of her smaller animals

Lovely way to help

Joanne explained: “We visited a care home for the elderly before Christmas with our miniature ponies and Lexi loved it.

“She said that she just wanted to make as many people as possible smile with our animals.”

The family have been supporting Hope House Tŷ Gobaith children’s hospices for many years now and have made several visits to let children there have the sensory experience of petting animals.

“When we visited care homes, we noticed that many residents wanted to make a donation and Lexi asked if the money could go to Hope House.

“It seemed a lovely way to help more people, so every day after school in the run up to Christmas, Lexi dressed up as an elf with her collection bucket and we visited care homes across North Wales with our animals.

“We’re really proud of the way Lexi went about it. She never complained once, not even when the weather started getting bad,” said Joanne.

Lexi with step dad David and mum Joanne who run Animal Encounters

Favourite animals

When Animal Encounters visit the hospices, there are some clear favourites, one slippery customer especially!

Joanne explains: “Mango, our 11ft Reticulated Python is very popular and seeing the smiles on children’s faces when they feel the scales is beautiful, we absolutely love it.

“They also love to cuddle up to Ollie the white rabbit and the adults seem to love our miniature Dachshunds.

“The work the teams at Hope House Tŷ Gobaith do is absolutely phenomenal. So when we started Animal Encounters a year ago, it was a given that we would support them.”

You can learn more about Animal Encounters by visiting https://www.animalencounterswales.co.uk/ or finding them on Facebook.