Smith Crossing, December 18, 2019
The Mercifuls were thrilled to have a special guest join them during their visit to Smith Crossing in Orland Park, IL.! Mrs. Santa Claus took the afternoon off from baking Christmas cookies to join the Merciful Mini Team as they visited a very enthusiastic congregation of seniors eager for a repeat visit from the very furry little mini horses.
One senior in particular couldn’t get enough of her time with the minis, remembering youthful days of riding her own horse at her family’s farm.
The minis visited each senior giving all the opportunity to rub the manes or pet the soft noses of the young therapy horses.
We were so grateful to have the help of our skilled handlers, taking time out of their busy holiday schedules to assist making sure that the visit runs smoothly, questions are addressed, photos are taken, and the horses safely get on and off the trailer during cold, sometimes snowy conditions.
We are also grateful for volunteers who come to the barn during the week to help exercise and groom the minis, necessary to maintain the wellness of each animal.
When it was time to leave Smith Crossing we said our good byes, making sure that we wished all
Joy, Good Health, Peace
And a very Happy New Year!
While the Merciful Minis are winding down our 2019 visitation schedule we are simultaneously preparing for our exciting 2020 calendar year. Working closely with Pet Partners we have targeted Spring Evaluation dates for handlers and minis. This means winter is practice season for veterans and those newly interested in working with the minis.
We work as the weather permits. Our goal is to give the minis the opportunity to be exposed to different situations and to develop a special “friendship”, element of trust, with each handler. It’s not all work for the minis. They love the cool weather. They love to roll, romp, and chase one another in the snow covered pasture, with a zealous love of life and abandonment. For those of our followers who may be considering helping with our therapy program, we invite you to contact us at email@example.com
And for those of you who have helped us through donations and referrals we send a heartfelt THANK YOU ! Your generosity has enabled Merciful Minis to add joy into the lives of those in need.
Over many visits people have asked if we had swag…tee shirts, hoodies etc. We found a site that makes it easy and affordable for all to support Merciful Minis and have a great product. Click on the link ( or picture) below and see how easy it is to direct order and have items shipped to your home.
November 15, 2019
Following several days of record breaking cold temperatures relief was in the air, warmer temperatures returned and the Merciful Minis stepped off the trailer to visit their neighbors at Victorian Village.
The little minis entered the beautiful building confidently and were immediately greeted by staff and residents awaiting their visit. Thee minis made their rounds with each person. Seniors had the opportunity to pet each little gelding, some for the first time in their lives.
A couple celebrating 75 years of marriage asked for the opportunity to have a photo shoot with our little golden Hawk who happily complied.
At one point during the visit a Merciful Mini volunteer was overcome with sadness, remembering the loss of a loved one not long ago. At that point Hawk, sensing the volunteers’ grief, walked up to the volunteer and leaned closely to her, head resting against her side. All without the handlers’ prompting.
The visit continued. All said their goodbyes. The Merciful Mini Team left the building knowing that a special connection was made that afternoon reaffirming our belief in the power of the human-equine bond.
November 8, 2019
Chicago’s cold November brings a chill in the air that requires an extra ounce of warmth in our coffee to bring comfort to our volunteers who brave the elements and come out in the cold as the Merciful Minis prance up into the trailer on the way to visit Smith Village Retirement Center in the southwest Beverly neighborhood.
Upon our arrival we were visited by an enthusiastic administrator who greeted us warmly at the doorway to tell us how excited the seniors were to have the minis make a return visit to their beautiful home.
As the miniature horses confidently entered the lovely carpeted room we could hear the giggles of seniors excited at the prospect of horses inside of their home, donned with holiday plaid ribbons on their tales.
The minis visited with each senior. There was a wide range of horse experience in the room; one senior spoke of living on a farm in Ireland surrounded by animals while still others had never touched the mane of a horse in their lifetime. Regardless of their past experiences with horses each senior had the opportunity to feel the fluffy, clean winter coats of a miniature horse meticulously groomed for a pre-holiday visit. Many seniors called for the minis to continue to make more rounds, stay a little longer, and at one point, come up to their room for a longer visit.
It was at this time that I noticed that cold weather was no longer a factor. The minis once again found their way into the warm hearts of all- residents, staff and Merciful Minis volunteers.
Homer Glen Library
It was a beautiful day to visit with a mini and read about a famous adventurer who traveled the ocean in search of a country hundreds of nautical miles away from their native land.
Following the read aloud activity families were able to enjoy the companionship of the Merciful Minis. With blue skies and beautiful autumn colors in the background, each child was able to sit on a bale of straw to pet the mini horse and have their photo taken for keepsake.
Fall is an awesome season in the Midwest. It’s hard to find a better way to spend an afternoon while immersed in a good book with a cute little mini beside you.
October 4, 2019
The Merciful Minis returned to Harvester Place on a cool, cloudy fall morning. More than forty residents were waiting in two separate rooms for the minis to arrive.
One by one Hawk and Luna Rae stopped to visit each resident. The handlers introduced each mini, giving brief background information on the miniature horses’ age, training, diet, and preferences.
Seniors talked about their past experiences with animals, from life on a farm to absolutely no previous contact with horses or other farm animals. Although unable to see, one senior wanted all to know that she and Hawk had made a connection much deeper than the eye could see. They connected with one another; they communicated thru touch and feeling. As I meet people of all ages, backgrounds and social physical needs there are moments I wish our little mini could have extended visits for additional one on one time with those who have made a special connect. Hawks’ meeting with this senior was one of those moments.
I have developed a better understanding of the term “Unconditional love” since my work with our miniature therapy horse team. I have witnessed many moments when an extraordinary bond has been made between horse and human in a very brief period of time.
There is a huge commitment in caring for a team of miniature horses. The rewards are intrinsic; as with Hawk’s visit today the value of a human/equine bond is at a level much deeper than monetary profit or public recognition. The bond represents one individual caring for another.