NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — We’ve heard of how dogs, cats, and even children can help the sick and elderly feel better, but how about mini-pony therapy?
On Wednesday, CBS2’s Cindy Hsu met Claire the therapeutic mini-pony. She was on the job visiting Bronx Center a nursing home and rehab center. Residents fell in love and some even started kissing Claire.
“Beautiful,” Frank Maya said.
Diane Garofola has been with Bronx Center for more than 25 years and said animal therapy works wonders.
“It’s a type of love that they really feel,” she said. “We don’t even reach them in that way as animals reach them.”
In the physical therapy room Claire had patients talking about home.
“I grew up on a farm and where we had horses, donkeys, and mules but we never had anything like her,” Jose Rodriguez said.
It takes about 5 years of training to become a therapeutic horse.
Linda Cole owns Claire and another mini-pony called Cupid. She said when they’re not working they’re living in paradise in upstate New York.
“They live on 7.5 acres of grazing and land with goats and sheep and a bigger horse and a donkey and a bunch of rabbits running around,” she said.
The mini-ponies live to be about 30-years-old and while some retire early, Cole said many of them do the work for decades.