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Trained pig helps to keep seniors on their toes

Ralph Orlowski / Getty Images

A pig named Felix and an elderly woman encounter each other in a lift at a senior care facility in Essen, Germany on April 12.

Ralph Orlowski / Getty Images

Physiotherapist Daan Vermeulen (standing) helps an elderly woman to pet his pig Felix in a senior care facility on April 12 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany.

Ralph Orlowski / Getty Images

An elderly woman feeds Felix in a senior care facility in Gelsenkirchen.

Ralph Orlowski / Getty Images

Daan Vermeulen guides his pig Felix into a car at a senior care facility in Gelsenkirchen.

A pig named 'Felix' has been trained by physiotherapist Daan Vermeulen to provide emotional therapy for the elderly and for handicapped children, Getty Images photographer Ralph Orlowski reports. Vermeulen claims contact with the pig stimulates curiosity, activity and even alertness among elderly people and helps them to awaken from the passivity that often sets in as they become older. Vermeulen says he helps those patients who react with fear to the pig to channel the emotion into a positive experience.