Mini Therapy Horses Bring Joy to Deptford

- March 1, 2017

DEPTFORD, N.J. - Hundreds of residents at three local nursing and rehabilitation centers were in for a treat on Tuesday as two miniature horses stopped by for pet therapy.

Duncan and Moon Pie are two miniature horses that travel all over the Garden State to put a smile on the faces of people who need some cheering up.

“It is a therapy. It’s not just for fun. It is a therapy; it has an actual basis why we do it here. It’s for morale, it’s for emotional, it’s for physical,” said Paige Doumenis, director of recreation for the Deptford Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare.

The horses go to common areas and private rooms to spend some quality time with the assisted living residents that adore them.

“A lot of times with pet therapy people don’t feel there’s a real big value of it. We all love animals but this is extreme, the changes that it brings in our residents,” said Doumenis.

Duncan’s handler, Shawn Emmons, explained that many of the residents enjoy the horses because of past memories.

“A lot of them have so many memories, whether it be being around horses when they were younger or riding horses. A lot of them just want to smell the horses or pet the horse,” said Emmons.

“Some will cry when they hug them because it’s that love that they have that they don’t get - that unconditional love,” said Doumenis.

According to the residents, Duncan and Moon Pie’s monthly visits to the Deptford Center are days everyone here eagerly waits for.

“Oh, I look forward to them constantly all month. I’m right in the lobby when they come in so when they come in there’s somebody there to greet them,” said Lois Robinson, a resident of Deptford Center.

Robinson fell head over heels for her new four-legged friends.

“I love them. I just fell in love with Duncan the first minute I saw him when he first came here and I love him silly and I now love Moon Pie. I just love hugging Duncan and petting him and Moon Pie, just being with them,” said Robinson.

Although it’s once a month, for these residents when Duncan and Moon Pie come trotting through the center it’s the very best day of the month.

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