One woman is spreading the word about the importance of pet therapy and that message is getting through using an unusual duo that gets attention wherever they go!
When Jenny Pfieffer shows up anywhere with her therapy pets it’s a real head turner. First of all, she has a miniature horse – a yearling named Gypsy, but her dog Summit is bigger than the horse.
“It’s like a mentor – mentee relationship. They go everywhere together,” Pfieffer said.
Everywhere, including the elevator!
Summit is an 8-year-old Great Dane and he’s teaching Gypsy the ropes.
She’s a therapy horse in training. They visit with residents at least once a month. Simple interactions that really mean a great deal.
“It’s friendly, it’s nice, they just like it,” one resident said.
“They light up, you’ll see people who you usually don’t even get reactions out of will smile,” a nurse at the residence said.
Jenny is a pediatric emergency room nurse in Delaware where she takes Summit to visit with sick children and their families. She also takes him in to schools where he helps make reading easier.
“Because it’s not in front of a lot of people I’m not so shy because it’s just an animal,” one student said.
“They learn how to read especially the children that have a fear of public speaking or learning how to read out loud, he helps them,” Pfieffer said.
Jenny’s passion about the value of pet therapy is getting attention.
A picture of summit and a patient was one of 50 winners in a national children’s hospital photo contest and was featured recently on the today show.
She’s hoping pet therapy, while growing in popularity, catches on and more.
“I would love if every hospital every clinic would open up their minds to pet therapy it is just one of the truly amazing things you can do,” she said.
There are many pet therapy programs in Massachusetts, just check with the MSPCA for details.