Miniature horses delight nursing home residents

Carol Lawrence Published: September 3, 2009
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July 2008, she found Peanut, a miniature horse. The 12-year-old heather and gray horse was just 34 inches tall and cute as a button, she said.

After her sons moved away, Mills decided to volunteer to give back to her community. She thought she should include the horses.

Mills chose to help the elderly, disabled and housebound after talking with Nancy Oxenhandler of Evercare Hospice and Palliative Care.

First, Peanut needed to be certified through the nationwide Delta Society, which trains and screens people and animals to visit hospitals, nursing homes, schools and other facilities. Mills took Peanut and Moriah to Denver’s Pet Partners for the certification in May.

The horses were put through tests to see whether they would react to quick movements, loud noises and other situations that may arise during their visits. Both passed the exams.

Mills and Peanut have visited many care and assisted-living facilities. They plan on adding Moriah to outdoor visits. In mid-July, Ginny acquired Willow, another miniature horse. Willow has made a few visits.

To assist with her dream of continuing the visits, Mills has established Mello Memories, a nonprofit agency.

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services



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