Merciful Minis Visit Park Retirement in Elmhurst
June 21, 2019
After two failed attempts to visit last year due to inclement weather, Merciful Minis visited the beautiful Park Place Retirement Center in Elmhurst. As the minis were preparing to unload from the trailer we were greeted by a gentleman who, upon seeing from his balcony window the truck and trailer enter the parking lot, quickly put on his sandals and greeted the miniature horses as they stepped off of the trailer.
With a broad smile he reached into his wallet to show several black and white pictures of him standing alongside beloved horses in his youth. He proudly talked about his life as a dairy farmer in Ohio, university administrator in Iowa, and then horse trainer in the Midwest. He was an amazing happy man and admired our minis Rae and Hawk, appreciating their beauty and calm demeanor from the eyes of a genuine horseman.
Following some picture taking our handler teams entered a lovely garden to visit seniors anxiously awaiting our visit. One gentleman insisted that he stand up and take the lead of a mini, beaming that he was able, with assistance from an aide and a team handler, to proudly stand beside a gorgeous mini. The young horse recognized the importance of this event and quietly stood beside the delighted senior.
Each mini continued on their mission of joy, stopping to make connections with all in attendance. There was a continued outpouring of residents leaving their apartments as the word spread that there were horses in their gardens.
The miniature horses did not object to continue “working the crowd” as it was clear that the seniors were enjoying this visit.
When it was time to leave, we said our goodbyes, and calmly walked back to the trailer for the ride home. Once again, our three year old miniature horses behaved like seasoned pros, loving their jobs of bringing joy to others.
A Mini Lesson on Empathy
June 18, 2019
The minis returned to The Homer Glen Library for an outdoor read aloud activity accompanied by a small toy horse named “Empathy”. The sun was shining, a small breeze was blowing, as the young children sat in the shade of a tree for an interactive reading of a children’s picture book highlighting empathy for family and friends in varying situations.
The children learned that all people struggle with things, from illness to going down a tall slide; and that during those times it’s helpful for others to understand their struggle and to help as others have helped them.
Following the read aloud and discussion period the Merciful Minis joined the children and parents. A team member highlighted the work that the minis do throughout the year helping others who may be struggling.
Children were invited for an opportunity to come to each mini for picture taking and petting as each child sat on a bale of straw for their time with our awesome three year old miniature horses, Hawk and Luna Rae.
At the conclusion of the activity, Rae took a bow and the minis returned to the trailer for the brief ride back to the barn.
June 14, 2019
It was a beautiful Friday afternoon as we pulled up in the trailer to visit seniors in a lovely building in a park like setting in Joliet. In anticipation of our visit, a handful of seniors were lined up outside trying to get a first glimpse of the Merciful Minis therapy horses approaching the entryway to the retirement center.
The automatic doors opened and the minis walked through the lobby, passed the office, and into a large room with more than twenty seniors seated in wheelchairs awaiting our visit.
One by one Hawk and Rae stopped to visit each senior. With hands outstretched to greet the mini, seniors were able to pet each horse and engage in conversation with our teams of handlers.
Seniors smiled as they shared experiences of their youth and their love of past animals in their lives. They were so grateful to be able to enjoy their time with the minis and as we were prepared to leave, they spontaneously began to applaud at which point the miniature horses took a bow and exited the room only to find still more seniors waiting outside for additional with our charming little minis.
We are so grateful to our volunteers and supporters who make our visits possible. While there are many challenges in operating a miniature therapy horse program, each visit we make supports our belief that there is so much joy and reward in making connections with those in need.
Good job, Little Minis, we are so very proud of your work!