SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - On long, quiet days, comfort can come in any size, shape or even species.
"Everyone thinks about dogs because a lot of people own dogs and not a lot of people own horses,’’ says Julie Mayville, of Minis 2 Love. “So, they kind of go, ‘therapy horses?’ ‘’
It can be a unique sight when Mayville’s horse of a difference size walks down the hallway.
Midnight is one of two miniature horses Mayville uses with her Minis 2 Love program to offer what could be called smile therapy, brightening days and lifting spirits at senior centers throughout the Coastal Empire.
"It’s always so amazing, not just how cute they are because that’s the big seller that they’re so tiny,’’ says Mayville. “But there also are a lot of people who had horses in their background, especially right now. The older generation, a lot of them grew up with working horses and some had pleasure horses. And so, it brings back a lot of memories for them.’’
Hospice of Savannah is the latest place where the mini horses get a big reaction, even before they go to a patient room.
"I think it’s almost more important for the staff than the patients,’’ said Beth Logan, Hospice Savannah’s director of marketing and volunteer services. “The staff just comes out of the woodwork to see the horses.’’
But when they reach someone’s bedside, it doesn’t just change the day. It can change a life.
"It’s been so rewarding to see how we can make somebody’s day and bring that smile and sometimes conversation,’’ says Mayville “We’ve had some talk and call the horse’s name and then find out they haven’t spoken for days.’’
"The patients are delighted, and they talk about them all day,’’ added Logan. “And they tell their family members what they missed by not being here. So, they are a great hit and we are just so happy to have them.’’
And to have them creating new memories for seniors, well…
"It’s kind of a unique therapy program in that respect,’’ says Mayville. “But it’s a lot of fun. It’s a lot of fun.’’