The residents of Morning Pointe of Knoxville (TN) were delighted as Tank, a miniature horse, came walking into the assisted living and Alzheimer’s memory care community. Tank is a therapy horse owned by Heather McCarty. She says that he is a very unusual horse. He lives in a house with her friend and has learned to climb the stairs. If the car door is ever left open, he loves climbing in and riding in the back seat with his head hanging out the window. When Heather and Tank pull up to stop lights, it is not uncommon for people all around them to start pulling out their phones to take a photo.
“When he’s home, he is high-spirited and full of life, but when he is around children or seniors, he’s like a loveable stuffed animal,” McCarty says. “He just seems to sense who needs his love the most.”
The residents of Morning Pointe agree. “The residents could hardly wait to pet and love on him. It was hard to tell who was enjoying the time together the most—our child guests, the residents, or Tank,” says Pat Anderson, the Life Enrichment Director at Morning Pointe of Knoxville. “‘Therapeutic horse’ maybe a new term, but it is not a new technology. As Tank left the building, the residents could not have agreed more with what Winston Churchill said: ‘There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.’”
Morning Pointe schedules regular visits from pet therapy groups at both its assisted living and Alzheimer’s memory care communities, as research has shown that pet therapy can reduce pain symptoms, depression, anxiety, and stress. For more information on therapy programs offered at Morning Pointe Senior Living communities, including pet therapy, visit https://morningpointe.com/alzheimers-therapy-programs/.