• Simon O'Donovan

Animal Magic

"The question is, are we happy to suppose that our grandchildren may never be able to see an elephant except in a picture book?" - Sir David Attenborough

This week's session focused on the animal kingdom and music and TV programmes associated with it. This was because Wednesday 4th October 2017 is 'World Animal Day'. We began with introductions and asked members to say what their favourite animal is, which they have seen or would most like to see, which impresses them the most and so on.

NEWS ROUND Everyone knows zebras have black and white stripes — at least, most of them do. But a newborn zebra named Tira, born this week, looks a little different. Tira was born with a dark coat covered in white polka dots, and just a few small stripes around his legs. The tiny foal was first spotted last Friday by Antony Tira, a guide in the Maasai Mara region of Kenya. The next day, photographer Frank Liu went out with his camera to search for rhinos — but ended up finding Tira instead. An early Renaissance masterpiece by the Florentine painter Cimabue was discovered this week in a kitchen on the outskirts of a town north of Paris, where it might have been binned during a house clearance if an auctioneer had not spotted it. 'Christ Mocked', by the 13th-century artist who taught Giotto, is estimated to be worth £3.5m-£5m. The work had for years gone unnoticed in the house of a woman in her 90s near the northern French town of Compiègne. It had been hanging between her open-plan kitchen and her living room, arousing little interest from the family, who assumed it was a standard religious icon. Although it was placed directly above a hotplate for cooking food, the picture was in good condition. Greta Thunberg spoke passionately this week about the need to tackle climate change at a UN summit in New York, telling world leaders, "If you choose to fail us… we will never forgive you". Pictures of Donald Trump walking by and ignoring her made the headlines and Greta's look of contempt was unmistakable. He later tweeted, "A very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future", by way of presumably being antagonistic, which she owned by later using his words as her biog on her own Twitter account. September 23rd marked the 'Autumnal Equinox', which is the day when the Sun‘s path crosses the celestial equator, resulting in a near-even worldwide division of day and night. Apparently 'equinox' means "a moment of balance", coming from Aequi- ‘equal’ and Noct- ‘night’. 'Hinkley Point C' is one of Europe's biggest construction projects. It will provide 7% of Britain's electricity and take 3 million tonnes of concrete to build it. This week saw the largest crane in the world arrive at the site. Standing at 656ft (250m) tall, the crane can be clearly seen from across the Bristol Channel in Penarth. Sophia Loren reached the great old age of 85 years this week. (Born September 20th, 1934). A great quote from her follows ... "Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical." The Brexit fiasco continued this week, when Parliament was recalled after the Supreme Court ruled that Parliament had been "unlawfully prorogued". In his 62 days as UK Prime Minister, he has broken several records. He has: - lost six votes in Parliament - lost his majority - lost 23 MPs - lost his prorogation - lost his Supreme Court case - lost his party conf - advised the Queen to act unlawfully. Quite astonishing. Who knows what will come next? One thing was for sure, members were pretty much fed up of the current stalemate and impasse.

ANIMAL MAGIC QUIZ We printed off the powerpoint slides - link above (click on picture), and put them out on the tables, for members to link to the following questions. - The world's largest animal is? - BLUE WHALE, 98 feet in length, weighing 180 tons - ('Moby Dick' was written by Herman Melville in 1851) - The world's biggest land animal is? - AFRICAN ELEPHANT, 35 feet in length from trunk to tail, weighing 7 tons - (African elephants have larger ears; Indian elephants have smaller ears.) - The world's tallest land animal is? - GIRAFFE, 18 feet tall (Giraffes are HERBIVORES - Their long necks allow them to reach leaves, seeds, fruits, buds and branches high up in mimosa and acacia trees. They get most of their moisture from the vegetation they eat.) - The fastest animal in the world is? - CHEETAH, 61 miles per hour (Tarzan had a monkey called 'CHEETA'.) (Ask members if anyone can do the 'Tarzan yell'?) - The slowest animal in the world is? - THREE TOED SLOTH, 0.003 miles per hour (The 7 deadly sins are - PRIDE, GREED, LUST, ENVY, GLUTTONY, WRATH AND SLOTH) - The smelliest animal in the world is? - SKUNK, can spray up to nearly 10 feet (The name of the skunk cartoon character was PEPE LE PEW.) - The most deadliest animal in the world? (aside from Humans) - MOSQUITO, kills approx 725,000 people each year through carrying infectious diseases like Malaria. (You CANNOT catch Malaria from a Mosquito bite in the UK!) - The most poisonous animal in the world? - BOX JELLYFISH (They are NOT found in the UK, though 'Portuguese Man O' War' are sighted in UK waters, with increasing regularity.) - The biggest land predator is? - POLAR BEAR (Polar bears are only to be found in the - NORTHERN HEMISPHERE.) - The slowest fish is the world? - SEAHORSE, MOVES ALONG AT 0.01 MPH (The male seahorse carries the eggs to maturity, rather than the female. They DO NOT change gender.) - The most venomous snake in the UK? ADDER (ONLY VENEMOUS SNAKE IN THE UK) (Rarely fatal bites on humans, but frequent killer of DOGS.) (SAINT PATRICK - banned snakes from Ireland, according to legend.) - What bird can run faster than a horse? OSTRICH (Can run at 45MPH.) - The world's smallest dog was? A YORKSHIRE TERRIER (weighed just 4 ounces) (A bag of sugar is 2.20LBS.) - The world's heaviest and longest dog? OLD ENGLISH MASTIFF (68-110KG / HEIGHT 27-33 INCHES) (The world's tallest dog was a Great Dane, standing 7ft 4ins on his hind legs!) - The only mammal which can fly is? A BAT (The horror movie character which could turn into a bat was? DRACULA) - Alligators can live up to how many years? 100 YEARS (Complete the phrase, 'See you later alligator. IN A WHILE CROCODILE'.) - Cats have lived with people for more than? - 7,000 YEARS (The phrase "It's raining cats and dogs" originated in the 17th century because? DURING HEAVY RAINSTORMS ANIMALS WOULD DROWN AND FLOAT IN THE STREETS!) - True or false. Can hippos run faster than humans? TRUE (The TV sitcom character who imagined his mother in law as a hippopotamus was? REGGIE PERRIN.) - How many times per second can a Woodpecker peck? 20 TIMES (Can members make the 'Woody Woodpecker' call?) - A fear of animals is called? - ZOOPHOBIA (What do you call a zoo with only two animals? A SHITZU!) - Hummingbirds beat their wings how many times a second? - 60 TO 80 TIMES (They care called 'Hummingbirds' because of - THE SOUND THEIR WINGS MAKE!) - True or false. A blind chameleon will take on the colour of it's surroundings? TRUE (Who had a hit single with 'Karma Chameleon' in 1983? - CULTURE CLUB / BOY GEORGE A.K.A. GEORGE O'DOWD) - The most popular dog breed in the UK is? - LABRADOR RETRIEVER (Labrador is where? - NEWFOUNDLAND (the breed's other name) and LABRADOR are provinces in Canada.) - All swans in the UK are owned by whom? - THE QUEEN (In fact, she only owns all - MUTE SWANS. It throws back to a time that swans were an important source of meat!) - A mole can dig a tunnel how long in a single night? - 300 FEET (Ask members to complete the phrase from a 1958 'Southlanders' song ... " I am a mole .... AND I LIVE IN A HOLE!") - Flamingos are pink because they eat what? - SHRIMP (Why do flamingos stand on one leg? - IT IS THOUGHT TO PRESERVE BODY HEAT.) - Tyrannosaurus Rex went extinct how many years ago? - 65 MILLION YEARS ('JURASSIC PARK' was the 1993 film about the re-creation of dinosaurs, starring Sam Neil, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum & Richard Attenborough. The dino DNA was extracted from - MOSQUITO BLOOD IN AMBER.) - Bird with the longest wing span? - WANDERING ALBATROSS 12 FEET (Which group had an instrumental hit in 1968 with a song called 'Albatross'? - FLEETWOOD MAC.) - True or false. The colour red angers a bull? - FALSE, THEY ARE COLOUR BLIND (What is the name of a Spanish bullfighter? - MATADOR.) - True or false. Frogs do not drink water? - TRUE, THEY ABSORB IT THROUGH THEIR SKIN (Young frogs are called what? TADPOLES OR SPAWN!) - True or false. You are more likely to be killed by a popping champagne cork than a poisonous spider? - TRUE (A fear of spiders is called? - ARACHNOPHOBIA.) - What is special about the sentence, 'The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog?' - IT CONTAINS ALL THE LETTERS OF THE ALPHABET (A female fox is called? A VIXEN.) - The world's longest living bird is? - COCKATOO - UP TO 100 YEARS (YELLOW CANARIES - Were taken down the mines to test the air, in the 'good old days!') - The oldest ever human being was? - 122 YEARS (Jeanne Calment of France lived 1875-1997). (Ask members if they have any advice for long living OR living life to the fullest?) - Longest living land animal? - GALAPAGOS TORTOISE - 177 YEARS (CHARLES DARWIN visited the Galapagos Islands in 1835. His ship was 'HMS BEAGLE'.) - Longest living sea creature? - OCEAN WUAHOG CLAM - 507 YEARS (Who likes shell fish, though this particular species may be a bit tough?) - Creature that would survive a nuclear war? - COCKROACH (SURVIVED AT AROUND 1,000 METRES FROM WHERE THE HIROSHIMA BOMB DETONATED) - Animal living today that has been around the longest? - BEES (30-40 MILLION YEARS) (What do they make? - HONEY.) - How much difference is there between Human and Chimpanzee DNA? - 1.2% (Which tea did chimps help advertise in the 1970s? - PG TIPS.) - What is the transformation from caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly called? - METAMORPHOSIS (Name some UK butterflies? - RED ADMIRAL, PEACOCK, COMMON BLUE, PAINTED LADY, CABBAGE WHITE.) We next thought about animals in literature. - THE JUNGLE BOOK, by Rudyard Kipling - 'WATERSHIP DOWN', by Richard Adams - 'WINNIE THE POOH', by A.A. Milne - 'MARLEY AND ME', by John Grogan - 'THE HORSE WHISPERER', by Nicholas Evans - 'THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS', by Kenneth Grahame - 'BLACK BEAUTY', by Anna Sewell - 'ANIMAL FARM', by George Orwell - 'MOBY DICK', by Herman Melville - 'ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL', by James Herriott - 'THE TALE OF PETER RABBIT', by Beatrix Potter - 'FANTASTIC MR FOX', by Roald Dahl - 'MY FAMILY AND OTHER ANIMALS', by Gerald Durrell And then children's rhymes... (we had a go at remembering some of these in full) - BAA BAA BLACK SHEEP - GOOSEY GOOSEY GANDER - HEY DIDDLE DIDDLE - HICKORY DICKORY DOCK - ITSY BITSY SPIDER - LADYBIRD, LADYBIRD - LITTLE BO PEEP - LITTLE BOY BLUE - LITTLE MISS MUFFET - MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB - OLD MCDONALD HAD A FARM - POP GOES THE WEASEL - PUSSYCAT, PUSSYCAT - RIDE A COCK HORSE TO BANBURY CROSS - ROUND AND ROUND THE GARDEN - THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT - THREE BLIND MICE Then we thought about idioms involving animals (and guessed at their meanings)... - A bird in the hand is worth - TWO IN THE BUSH - Ants in your - PANTS - The birds and the - BEES - Cat's got your - TONGUE - Chicken - OUT - Clam - UP - Copy - CAT - Dropping like - FLIES - Eager - BEAVER - Fishy - BUSINESS - Hold your - HORSES - Get the lion's - SHARE - In the dog - HOUSE - Kill tow birds with - ONE STONE - Let the cat out of - THE BAG - A little bird - TOLD ME - Nest - EGG - Pig - OUT - Put the cat amongst - THE PIGEONS - Rat - RACE - Red - HERRING - See no - EVIL, Hear no - EVIL, Speak - NO EVIL (THREE WISE MONKEYS) - Straight from the - HORSE'S MOUTH - Take the bull by - THE HORNS - Until the cows - COME HOME - While the cat's away - THE MICE WILL PLAY Finally, we remembered which animals are synonymous with particular countries, i.e. regarded as National Animals. - Australia - RED KANGAROO - Canada - NORTH AMERICAN BEAVER - China - GIANT PANDA - France - COCKEREL - India - ROYAL BENGAL TIGER, KING COBRA - Japan - KOI CARP - Mauritius - DODO (extinct) - Mexico - GOLDEN EAGLE - Nepal - COW - New Zealand - KIWI - Russia - EUROPEAN BROWN BEAR - Scotland - SHETLAND PONY - South Africa - SPRINGBOK - Thailand - ELEPHANT - United Arab Emirates - PEREGRINE FALCON - United Kingdom - BRITISH BULLDOG, LION - United States - BALD EAGLE, AMERICAN BISON - Wales - RED KITE, RED DRAGON :-)


SPOTIFY PLAYLIST HERE 1. Talk To The Animals - Sammy Davis Jr. What 1967 film did this song originally feature in? - DR DOOLITTLE

Starring whom? - REX HARRISON

2. Animal Magic - TV Theme. Who starred as the Zookeeper and translator? - JOHNNY MORRIS (* We watched some YouTube clips of Johnny talking to the animals at this point. *)

(Christmas cracker joke - "What do you call a zoo with only two animals in it?" - A SHITZU!) 3. Flipper - TV Theme. Dolphins are part of what group of aquatic mammals? - CETACEANS

What is the most common form of Dolphin in captivity? - BOTTLENOSE (Discuss keeping such animals in captivity?) 4. Skippy The Bush Kangaroo - TV Theme. What group of mammals does the Kangaroo belong to? - MARSUPIALS

What is special about Marsupials? - THEIR YOUNG GROW AND MATURE IN A POUCH 5. Maybe Tomorrow - TV Theme. What children's TV programme was this from? - THE LITTLEST HOBO

What dog breed was he? - GERMAN SHEPHERD

6. The Lone Ranger - TV Theme. What was the Lone Ranger's horse called? - SILVER

His best friend's name? - TONTO 7. Daktari - TV Theme. What was the lion's name? - CLARENCE, THE CROSS EYED LION

Has anyone been to a Safari Park? - Perhaps watch this YouTube clip of a Lion opening a car door?? 8. What A Dog/He's A Tramp - Peggy Lee. What film did this come from? - LADY AND THE TRAMP

What breed of dog was Lady? - AN AMERICAN COCKER SPANIEL (TRAMP WAS A MONGREL) 9. Everybody Wants To Be A Cat - Scatman Crothers, Phil Harris, Thurl Ravenscroft. What film did this song come from? - THE ARISTOCATS

Name some breeds of cat? - TABBY, MANX, SIAMESE, BURMESE, PERSIAN, RUSSIAN BLUE 10. The Bare Necessities - Bruce Reitherman, Phil Harris. What was the bear's name? - BALOO (THE BOY WAS MOWGLI.)

Who wrote the 1894 book? - RUDYARD KIPLING 11. I Know An Old Lady - Burl Ives. SINGALONG

Memory test (at the end of the song). Name the animals? - FLY, SPIDER, BIRD, CAT, DOG, GOAT, COW & HORSE 12. Circle Of Life - Elton John. What musical film and stage show is this song from? - THE LION KING

Name the King and his son? - MUFASA & SIMBA 13. Ben - Michael Jackson. Which animal was Michael singing this song about? - A PET RAT

According to hearsay (an old adage), how many feet are you only ever away from a rat? - 6 FEET 14. The Muppet Show - TV Theme. Name some of the animal characters? - MISS PIGGY, KERMIT THE FROG, FOZZIE BEAR, ANIMAL & GONZO 15. A Windmill In Old Amsterdam. If Old Amsterdam is in Holland, where is New Amsterdam? -NEW YORK

Who is afraid of mice or rats, or any other creatures? DISCUSS 16. How Much Is That Doggy In The Window - Pinky And Perky. What other shows did Mike Sammes sing vocals for (played at twice the original recorded speed)? KEN DODD AND THE DIDDYMEN & THE CHIPMUNKS 17. The Ugly Duckling - Danny Kaye. Who wrote the fairytale on which this song was based? - HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN

If he wasn't a duck, what bird was he? - A SWAN 18. Lassie - TV Theme. What dog was Lassie? - A ROUGH COLLIE

Who starred in the 1943 film, 'Lassie Come Home'? - ELIZABETH TAYLOR

19. Tarzan - TV Theme. Who starred as Tarzan in 11 movies from 1932-48? - JOHNNY WEISMULLER

What was his previous occupation? - AN OLYMPIC SWIMMER

Can anyone do the 'Tarzan Call'? 20. Mouse Round Mending Song - TV Theme. What children's show featured the mouse organ? - BAG PUSS

What was his owner's name? - EMILY 21. The Hippopotamus Song - Ian Wallace. Who was the lead singer of Mud the pop group? - LES GRAY (and their biggest hit was 'Tiger Feet') 22. Teddy Bears Picnic - Henry Hall And His Orchestra. What American President does the name 'Teddy Bear' come from? - THEODORE ROOSEVELT

Did anyone have a Teddy Bear? Who still has one? 23. The Animals Went In Two By Two - The Jamborees. What book of the bible does Noah's Ark come from? - GENESIS

What signified the end of the flood? - A DOVE CARRYING AN OLIVE BRANCH 24. Magic Roundabout - TV Theme. Name the characters? - DOUGAL THE DOG, FLORENCE THE GIRL, ERMINTRUDE THE COW, ZEBEDEE THE SPRING, DYLAN THE RABBIT & BRIAN THE SNAIL 25. Black Beauty - TV Theme. What bank has a black horse as it's emblem? - LLOYDS BANK

Has anyone ever been pony trekking? Has anyone owned a horse? DISCUSS 26. Blue Peter - TV Theme. Name some Blue Peter animals? - PETRA, PATCH, JASON, GOLDIE, FREDA (* And then of course we played the Elephant and Keeper clip on YouTube - ) 27. Birds Of A Feather - TV Theme. Name the characters and actors? - SHARON - PAULINE QUIRK, TRACY - LINDA ROBSON, DORIAN - LESLEY JOSEPH 28. Feed The Birds - Julie Andrews. Name the film? - MARY POPPINS

Who starred in the 1964 film? - JULIE ANDREWS & DICK VANDYKE 29. The Wombling Song - The Wombles (Mike Batt). What were the Wombles concerned about? - RECYCLING LITTER ON WIMBLEDON COMMON

Which sport is associated with Wimbledon? - TENNIS 30. The House Of The Rising Sun - The Animals. Where was the House Of The Rising Sun? -NEW ORLEANS 31. Bright Eyes - Art Garfunkel. Which 1972 film featured this song? - WATERSHIP DOWN

Who wrote the book? RICHARD ADAMS

32. Nellie The Elephant - Mandy Miller. Nearest guess. How many elephants are there remaining in the wild? - 450,000 - 750,000 AFRICAN & 35,000-40,000 ASIAN

What has sadly led to their demise as a species? - IVORY POACHING

33. Puff The Magic Dragon - Peter, Paul And Mary. What was the name of the Dragon's playmate? - JACKIE PAPER

What was the fictional land called? - HONALEE


There are plenty of outline animal images on the web to print off for adult colouring. Or there are a couple of apps that I would highly recommend. They are a bit fiddly, in so much as trying to find smaller areas of colour. But there are help tools to assist. Try out COLORFY - It is more of a 'freehand' colouring book, with people choosing colours to paint on images as they see fit.

HAPPY COLOR - Is more of a classic 'painting by numbers' coloring book. Possibly could be described as less detailed than the following two ...

COLOR BY NUMBER ADULT COLORING - Great pictures. A little more like a proper oil painting.

Finally, OIL PAINTING: COLOR BY NUMBER (Apple Store only) - Has the most photographic quality/lifelike images. (The Labrador above is an example.) But it is the most 'fiddly' out of all of them.

Just also to comment, these apps are a great option for members and carers to use at home, together or alone. I find them a relaxing past-time, especially linked with listening to 'Classic FM', or similar.

As usual, I would be so grateful for feedback as to what works best and what doesn't work so well. Feedback helps keep me motivated to keep the blog going and know it is of some value to people out there.

Please also share the word. The more people know of this free resource, the more CST approaches such as those detailed in these pages can benefit people living with cognitive impairment and dementia.

About Me

Simon O’Donovan MBE has worked in NHS Wales for most of his adult life, supporting people with dementia, their carers and families and developing and improving services to benefit this client group. 

He recently retired from working as a Community Mental Health Nurse within a Young Onset Dementia Service and continues to contribute to weekly CST 'Friendship Group' sessions as a volunteer co-facilitator.


He has been keeping a weekly 'Young Dementia CST Blog' to share and archive tried and tested activities resources, with the ultimate aim of providing an 'off the shelf' resource library of weekly themed CST sessions which can be used on rotation throughout the year. 


The main aim of this website is to share experience and resources freely, in order that others can dip in and out and use some or all of the materials provided in their own CST work. Thus it is hoped, facilitating and supporting the provision of uplifting and enjoyable sessions that optimise people with dementia's quality of life.

This site is not owned by or affiliated to any organisation. It’s a personal commitment, a not for profit exchange of ideas and a resource library which aims to enable more widespread use of CST approaches for people with dementia. 

To this end, 'Guest Blogs' are VERY welcome, but bearing in mind that no images of clients are to be used without their express written informed consent.

Please note that some images are reproduced on this blog from the internet under the 'fair use copyright' principle, in that they will only be used for educational purposes with disability groups and in no way will be linked to profit making activities.


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