Alberta hospital allows horses to visit dementia patient who misses family farm
CALGARY – Two former race horses, rescued three years ago, made a rare appearance Monday. They headed to the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary to visit a special patient.
Mr. Burns and Da-bomb are both very important to Michelle Johnson’s mother Leona, who is living with dementia. Johnson said her mom is not expected to leave the hospital due to her condition.
“Her health is failing rapidly now,” Johnson said. “She’s always talking about the boys.
She’s always asking: ‘are we going to the farm?’ But she can’t. She doesn’t understand she’s not leaving the hospital.”
Since Leona can’t visit the farm, the family decided to bring the animals to her.
They made the short road trip into Calgary, during visiting hours, of course.
Johnson said it’s worth the time and effort because the animals serve as a form of therapy for her mother. She believes they bring out a joyful side to Leona, not often seen lately.
“Calmness and smiles. She has a lot more clarity when she’s here with them. She’s going to be pretty shocked to see these guys.”
The staff, while surprised by the request, was more than willing to help.
The horses waited patiently right outside the south entrance of the McCaig Tower.
Leona is brought outside with the help of hospital staff. She’s all smiles and claps her hands when she sees her beloved animals.
“An absolutely memorable day for us, a great Family Day.”
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