In Welty's "Visit of Charity," she highlights the condition of a nursing home through a little girl's visit. Through her eyes, the reader can see how bleak life is for the elderly patients who have no choice but to be in the nursing home. Welty makes references to animals throughout the story. One example is when the girl hears sheep bleating. This is really the old people making noise. Also, one of the women has red eyes like a sheep.
These animal references are meant to show that the patients are objectified and treated no better than animals in this nursing home. They are herded around by the staff and treated as if they are not real people. Welty's message, then, is that nursing homes are not nice places for the elderly to be and only by going and witnessing it, like the girl does, will anyone know how mistreated and demeaned the people who live there are.