Many years ago when I first considered volunteering with my miniature horse Pearl, I meditated on the thought, “Who can I help? What feels right to me and touches my heart?” The answer was clear—the veterans. Pearl and I started making weekly visits to the patients at the Greater Los Angeles Veterans Hospital and Hospice and have never stopped. We visit the patients at their bedsides, in oncology, in the Intensive Care Unit, and in the psychiatric wards. The staff needs relief as much as the patients, and they love seeing the horses. My commitment to visiting our veterans and providing them with therapeutic benefits with our tiny therapy horses is the foundation of our program.
Greater Los Angeles Veterans Hospital Story:
The horses comfort patients and staff in The Greater Los Angeles Veterans Hospital, the psychiatric wards, the Intensive Care Unit, and VA Hospice. We’ve been committed to weekly visits in this hospital for nine years. We love the veterans, and they love our horses! One of the many heartfelt interactions that has inspired me was when I received a Last Wish request. A terminal patient, Jerry Amato, requested to see my therapy horse, Pearl. He had met Pearl before, and she had touched his heart because he been taken in by a family on a farm in Germany, and his fondest memories were of the horses he connected with as a child. On this visit, Jerry talked to Pearl as he went in and out of consciousness while petting her. They were communicating in their own language. Pearl knew what he needed. I heard a few days after our visit Jerry passed peacefully and I felt honored to have Pearl help him along his way.