A little part of the west came to Hammonton Center this week, and made a big, BIG impression. Hamlet, a 5-year old American Miniature horse visited the Hammonton Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare on Wednesday to spread his special brand of good cheer. Residents and employees alike were thrilled to see Hamlet walk in right through main entrance and begin his tour of the facility. For the residents of Hammonton Center, the visit from Hamlet was another interactive experience arranged by the Centers Health Care recreation team, and if the reaction of the residents is any indication, it looks like Hamlet will be a repeat visitor!
Residents were repeatedly surprised as they learned more and more about their special visitor. For starters, this was an unusual day for Hamlet, whose full time job as a therapy horse, working with children who have experienced a loss or other trauma, keeps him very busy. His stable mate, Honor, is in training to become one of the country’s smallest police horses. Honor, named for Rescue 1 in New York City, works with first responders and veterans as well as children who have lost a parent in the line of duty.
Hamlet is specially trained to work indoors, in confined spaces. He visits people in hospitals, even working inside the ICU when needed. So spending a day at Hammonton Center was a very upbeat break from his routine. And it was equally upbeat for Hammonton’s residents. “I’ve been familiar with the positive impact of therapy animals for many years” said Kenny Rozenberg, CEO of Centers Health Care. “We have therapy animals that visit all of our facilities on a regular basis, and many facilities have resident pets. But I wanted to do something that would be as surprising as it was therapeutic, and our team went out and found Hamlet”.
Laurie Tietjen, who is the founder of Mini Horse Heroes, was thrilled with the turnout of staff and residents, and plans are already being discussed to bring Hamlet back to work with the Hammonton Center rehab team. Hershey Alter, administrator of Hammonton Center, was as excited as anyone in the facility. “I love these little guys. When are they coming back?” Hopefully soon, Hershy. Hopefully soon.