Greater Los Angeles Veterans Hospital
The Greater Los Angeles Veterans Hospital is where it all started for MTH. When founder, Victoria Nodiff-Netanel, decided she wanted to provide equine therapy using her amazing mini horses, there was no doubt in her mind of where to begin: with our veterans. She started making weekly visits to the VA hospital with mini horse, Pearl, over 13 years ago and hasn't stopped since! They visit patients bedside, in the oncology department, in the intensive care unit and even the lockdown psychiatric ward.
These brave men and women have seen and been through so much in service to our country. Many have TBI (tramautic brain injury) and/or PTSD (post-traumatic stress syndrome.) Visiting with our mini horses provides a plethora of benefits, including increased trust, reduced anxiety, less feeling of depression and isolation, increased self-esteem, self-acceptance, improved social skills and improved communication skills, including non-verbal.
One of the many heartfelt interactions that has inspired us over the years was when we received a Last Wish request from a terminal patient named Jerry. He requested to see our therapy horse, Pearl, whom he had met during one of our many visits to the VA.
Pearl had touched his heart because as a child, he had been taken in by a family in Germany. This family lived on a farm and his fondest memories were of the horses he connected with there. On this final visit, Jerry talked to and gently petted Pearl as he went in and out of consciousness. They were communicating in their own beautiful language and Pearl knew exactly what he needed in that moment. Jerry passed peacefully a few days after our visit and we were so honored that Pearl was able to help guide him on his journey home.