Miniature horse brings big ‘Magic’ to our patients

Magic takes the elevator to visit patients in our pediatric
behavioral units with, from left, Niki Gjere, psychiatric
clinical nurse specialist; Catherine Watts, a Fairview
security operations manager; Carol Bakke, Magic’s
handler; and Kathie Tucker, the horse’s owner.
Oct. 22, 2013
Magic is a therapy horse and, though she's miniature, her impact isn’t.

A regular visitor to nursing homes, she recently made her first trip to a hospital—our children’s hospital.

Magic brought her unique brand of comfort to pediatric behavioral patients in our day therapy and dual diagnosis Inpatient program at University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital.

The No. 1 question her handlers get: “Does Magic have accidents?” She hasn’t had one in more than 200 visits. When she needs to go outside, she signals her team by swishing her tail.
Magic and her owner, Kathie Tucker, return from a
restroom break.

Petting and hugging the little horse
Carla Olson, program director, Fairview Recovery Services, heard about the miniature horse from one of its handlers.

“Magic sounded like a very special horse,” says Olson. “She was abused and neglected, but saved by a loving soul. Magic passes that love onto others. I started looking into how we could bring Magic here to visit our behavioral patients.”

Patients had a positive time meeting the horse, she says.

“The patients found her very soothing and calming. The teens were able to pet her, hug her and braid her mane. Staff also enjoyed Magic’s visit.
“Petting an animal can be so therapeutic,” adds Olson. “I believe animals can share feeling and love in a way that humans can’t.”

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