Adorable therapy horse visits patients at Nemours

Gypsy brings smiles, comfort to children

By Crystal Moyer - Traffic/reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Patients at Nemours Children's Specialty Care got a surprise visit from a mini horse on Tuesday as part of an effort to ease anxiety and help kids forget about their illness.

Trotting her way into Nemours, pink hooves and all, Gypsy made her debut.

Amelia Brome, 10, was surprised to see the mini horse when she arrived for proton therapy treatment.

"It's the last place you'd expect to pet a pony," Amelia said. "It makes me happy and makes me forget horrible stuff like this."

Gypsy's job is to bring some relief to young patients at Nemours. They got to pet her, hug her and take pictures. As a therapy horse, Gypsy had to go through intense training with her owners.

"(We worked to get her used to) wheelchairs, stretchers, ventilators, things that are typically very scary for the average horse," said Jenny Pfieffer, a pediatric nurse at Nemours.

On her time off, Pfieffer provides "pet therapy" with her daughter, Brooke.

"It's never old. It melts my  heart," Pfieffer said. "I'm trying to mentor her as well to follow in my footsteps, because it's wonderful to give back."

Bringing smiles to kids like Dequavion Brim, who has cerebral palsy, making it difficult for him to communicate.

"That's how he expresses himself, by his face lighting up or using his hands," said Evelyn Warren, Dequavion's mother. "This is great because he is in and out of the hospital a lot and this is something that's good for the kids."

Gypsy's visit was a hit at Nemours, and she'll be trotting around the clinic twice every month.

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