There were smiles all around after patients and residents at Riverview Health Centre received a special visit from a different type of therapy animal.

Just over a week ago, the Riverview Health Centre Therapeutic Recreation team invited a pair of miniature horses to their facility, bringing joy to not only the residents but also the staff. 

“Animals are recognized as being a positive force in the compassionate care process, offering physical contact with another living creature – something that may be missing in a resident’s life,” says Chris Edwards, Therapeutic Recreation Facilitator.

Bracken and Basil walked up and down the hallways, going from room to room, sniffing hands, stopping to be pet and changing the overall mood throughout the building. 

Horses RHC

Although Riverview Health Centre has seen other types of therapy animals walk through their halls, such as dogs, this is the first time they have had horses come for a visit. 

"A visit from a therapy animal breaks the daily routine and stimulates the mind in dramatic ways,” says Chris. “It may invoke pleasant memories and create new ones. Most certainly, it can divert a person’s attention and invite them to engage with their world.”

This is the first time in about four months since the facility has been able to host something like this. The hope is to do more visits like this moving forward.