But dogs aren’t the only four legged friends that can be therapy pets. Just ask Sue Binsfeld who owns Rosie a therapy miniature horse.
Before Rosie can go to her a hospital or nursing home she has to have a bath.
“Horses are dirty, they live outside. And she needs to be cleaned,” explains Sue Binsfeld, Rosie’s Owner.
Before going inside a building, Rosie has special shoes that keep the dirt off the hospital floor and also keeps the miniature horse from slipping.
When Rosie walks inside Aurora BayCare Medical Center she is clean and ready to shine.
“She takes her job very seriously. Her official title is pet therapy horse,” said Sue.
It’s a big job for a 26 inch tall, 202 pound miniature horse.
“She comes to visit patients, staff, family members and friends. And gives them something else to think about other than being sick,” said Sue.
With just a kiss Rosie can bring a smile to the smallest of patients.
“I believe one hundred percent she brings a lot of healing to people,” says Tracy Willems, Aurora BayCare Medical Center Pet Therapy Coordinator.
Rosie brighten the day of old friends. Ollie Toms has been fighting colon cancer and looks forward to Rosie’s visits.
“It just brings you to focus on the moment and you’re not thinking about yourself,” explains Tom.
Sue says when Rosie is on the job, she goes into work mode. “When she is in therapy horse mode her attention is focused solely on the patient,” said Sue.
Just a nuzzle from Rosie can help heal a patients soul.
“It puts your body in a more relaxed state and the more tension you can take out of your body the more energy you can put into positivity instead of negativity the faster you’re going to heal,” said Tom.
Sue knew being a therapy pet was Rosie’s true calling.
“She has a special way about her and she has a sense of knowing who needs her most,” explains Sue.
Ollie agrees. “You bring sunshine wherever you go don’t you,” he said to Rosie.
With about thirty therapy visits a year, it’s a big time commitment for Sue.
“There is a special place in heaven for people that go and do this kind of therapy work and volunteer work,” said Tom.
“When they say to me, I feel so much better now it just makes all the work worth it,” said Sue.
After a hard day’s work, Rosie leaves patients feeling better.
“It’s an important part of the healing process, it brings a lot of joy,” said Tracey.
Then it’s back to the pasture– and her best friend Lucy.
“When she is not working, she wants to be a horse. She wants to role in the dirt,” said Sue.
Sue wrote a book on how to train therapy horses called ‘A View from Inside.”
Rosie has two Facebook pages with 1300 followers. Click here for a link.
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