Pets of all shapes and sizes are lending support to the Orlando shooting victims, including miniature horses.
When headlines surfaced about the country’s deadliest mass shooting in Orlando, Florida on June 12, relief crews flew across the nation to offer immediate care. But it isn’t just humans giving a helping hand. Helping paws and now helping hooves are putting smiles on victims’ faces.
Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses is a non-profit based out of Gainesville, Florida. The tiny equines made their way up north to comfort children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Connecticut. They ventured north to Charlotte, South Carolina after the church shooting massacre.
Now, four mini horses were requested to meet with families of the deceased as well as the wounded, the traumatized and the first responders.
Horses in the program enter into a two-year training regimen through the University of Florida’s Shands Hospital, first practicing their learned social skills in a clinic setting.
Debbie Garcia-Bengochea, Education Director of Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses, said:
“We only go when we’re asked to come.”
When the mini horses aren’t attending to national turmoil, they spend their days visiting children in hospitals and helping them improve their reading levels.
They’ve even worked with child trafficking victims in D.C. and visited orphanages in Greece.
As of this week, the hoofed team is making its way to Nashville to bring joy into the hearts of child patients at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
All photos via Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses via Facebook.