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.
September 20, 2019
Driving into the entryway at Smith Crossing was a bit challenging with all of the construction vehicles hard at work but the reward of meeting so many enthusiastic seniors made the trip exceptionally worthwhile.
The minis confidently exited the horse trailer and headed directly to the beautiful garden where seniors awaited their arrival. One by one the horses stopped to say hello to each senior. The handlers responded to each question and allowed time for the mini and senior to get to know one another, sometimes with a pat on the shoulder or a gentle rub in the mane.
The seniors fondly recalled their life experiences with horses. One senior grew up on a farm in central Illinois. Another senior drove her daughter to horseback riding lessons years ago. While stroking the nose of our sweet little mini Hawk, another senior exclaimed that this was her first opportunity of ever coming in contact with a horse and she hoped she would have another opportunity sometime soon.
The teams of minis and handlers waited for the first group of residents to reenter the building to allow time for a second group to visit the minis on the garden patio.
It was a lovely outing. The minis made new friends, many seniors were giddy (up) with joy, and the Activity Director invited us for a return visit in the spring.
With tiny little bodies and hearts as big as Texas, our Merciful Minis continue to make extraordinary connections with those they meet. I am so proud of our teams for the joy they give to others.
August 24, 2019
With the feeling of Fall in the air, Merciful Minis returned to the beautiful St. Joseph Park in Joliet for the annual Celtic Fest. Hundreds of people attended the event enjoying good food, live music, and games for young children.
Families were excited to hear the minis would be returning and were especially surprised when our beautiful Mercy dressed in her colorful unicorn attire in keeping with the spirit of the Gaelic theme. Children couldn’t wait to have their pictures taken with a REAL unicorn and our sweet Falabella Mini horse appeared to love the adulation.
Families showed their appreciation by visiting our display of beautiful hand made jewelry donated by a friend of our therapy program. One of our Junior Handlers helped to sell the items and answer questions about the work of Merciful Minis. The support was overwhelming!
The minis will be concluding their 2019 schedule with several more fall visits to area centers. Look for the minis jewelry at Homer Glenn Library craft show on September 21 . Proceeds of our sales go directly to support the health care our miniature therapy horses.
We are a non profit organization and all donations can help when filing government taxes.
Every visit brings thanks and appreciation. Often a special moment passes between one of the minis and a resident or student. A smile, soft touch and even a song. Merciful Minis was formally thanked at a recent Board of Education meeting in school district Orland Park 135 for bringing Hawk and Rae to the extended school year program. Not only did the kids create a beautiful card, they bought treats for the minis to enjoy for a job well done. Thank you.
Merciful Minis enjoyed a visit from a young girl and her family from Frankfort. Following their trip to the library to read about minis, the family drove to Homer Glen to groom and then walk with Mercy down the country lane. Many photos were taken. Reluctantly time flew by. We said our goodbyes and welcomed all for a return visit.
July 28, 2019
We recently received a text from an Air Force Veteran who has heard of the amazing things our miniature therapy horses have been doing, and was eager to experience the tremendously positive value of establishing a human/equine bond.
Our little mare minis enthusiastically welcomed our visitor. They loved to have their manes brushed and noses nuzzled. As a bonus treat the three little mares were led to a pasture where they were able to kick up their heels, munch on green grass, and stop just in time for a three minute photo shoot before they returned to their horseplay.
Moose, a beautiful Great Pyrenees taller than two of our minis, was eager to enjoy the company of an Air Force Vet. Together they walked down a country lane, each enjoying the companionship of a new found Friend.
The morning visit went entirely too fast. As our guest was ready to leave, hugs were exchanged and promises were made to return to the farm where animals and humans can experience an unconditional love unlike any other.
Please follow our journey and support our goal of improving the physical and emotional health of others. We welcome your participation and are proud to serve those who have unselfishly served our country.
July 15, 2019
It was a day of homecoming for several of the Merciful Minis Handler team members as they accompanied the miniature therapy horses to a beautiful school in Orland Park as it hosted the District 135 Summer School Program. Many of the miniature horse handlers are recent retirees of the south suburban school district, and are now volunteering to work in the non-profit Merciful Minis Therapy Horse Organization.
On this early Monday morning there was a breeze in the air as more than twenty young students awaited the arrival of the three year old miniature horse team. Dr. Laura Berry, Co- Founder of Merciful Minis, introduced the minis and briefly described the training necessary to be registered as a therapy horse handler team.
Led by their handler team, the minis then greeted each child and staff member allowing time for the young children to pet the mane and feel the soft whiskers of the young, tiny horses, Luna Rae and Hawk.
Many of the students were amazed at the site of small horses with braids and ribbons in their manes and tails, on their school playground. Some children were anxious to pet each mini, while other students were satisfied with admiring the miniature horses at a distance in the comfort of their teacher’s watchful arms.
At the conclusion of the visit the staff and minis said their goodbyes, with hugs and well wishes. The children re-entered the building as the miniature horses loaded into the horse trailer to return to their stable nearby.
This has been a fun filled summer for the minis. We are looking forward to more visits throughout the south suburban area to fulfill our mission of improving the physical and emotional well-being of others. Please follow our journey at mercifulminis.org
July 12, 2019
On a beautiful Friday morning in July, the Merciful Minis were able to take advantage of a brief break in this summer’s extreme heat for a visit to the lovely Evergreen Senior Center in Orland Park ,IL.
The miniature therapy horses were greeted by seniors waiting outside on a shady porch. The minis stopped to greet those waiting before entering the center’s air conditioned lobby where more than thirty seniors, staff and family members were on hand to greet the miniature therapy horses.
One by one the minis took time to visit each senior. The little minis know their job; it’s inspiring to see how the horses instinctively know to reach out to touch the hands of those who are unable.
Throughout the visit Merciful Minis handlers answered questions and shared information about the minis and the schooling that is needed to be a registered therapy horse. Overwhelmed with joy upon seeing the minis, a senior broke out in song and serenaded the minis as they walked by.
When it was time to say goodbye, one of the minis walked to the center of the circle and took a bow to the crowd (he and his trainer had been practicing this and were eager to show their latest skill). A spontaneous round of applause followed as the three year old minis trotted out the doorway and into the horse trailer for the brief ride home.
Each visit renews our belief in the power of sharing unconditional love to those in need. The little minis know their job; it’s awesome to witness the human/equine connection during each of the Merciful Minis outings.
July 9, 2019
More than fifty young children attended a read aloud activity sitting in the grassy shade at The Homer Glen Library as part of the library’s Summer Reading Celebration. A member of the Merciful Minis Therapy Team read “The Smallest Horse”, a story about a miniature pony who had been worried that she was not big enough to have important jobs. The story concludes with the young mini horse discovering that it too, can have an important job helping people feel better when they are going through a sad or difficult time.
Following the read aloud, The Smallest Horse, each young guest was invited to sit on a bale of straw and have their picture taken with a member of the Merciful Minis therapy horse team.
After each child enjoyed their special time with a mini, the horses walked into the trailer for a brief ride back to their barn, less than a mile away from the library.
The Merciful Minis will be traveling at the end of this week to meet seniors in an area assisted living center. Young or old, our little miniature therapy horses enjoy their special moments of sharing their unconditional love with those they meet.
Please follow our journey at mercifulminis.org
July 2, 2019
“Hot and humid with a potential for scattered thunderstorms”
When we schedule our visits, sometimes months in advance, we can never be sure what Chicago weather has in store for us. Today was a day when our little miniature therapy horses “stepped up to the plate” and showed us the strength of their character.
Fortunately the ride to the camp was a five minute trip from the stable to Shady Oaks. Still early in the morning for a slight summer breeze, Hawk and Rae stepped out of the warm horse trailer and walked with their handlers to a perfect spot under the shade of beautiful stately oak trees.
Those attending the summer camp awaited the arrival of the minis with young college age assistants by their side. The therapy horses greeted all those in attendance, and even in the heat, reached out to nuzzle with those anxious to connect in body and soul.
As a testimony to the capability of each Merciful Mini handler, during this visit our volunteers assumed different responsibilities, taking turns in the introductions, fielding questions, and helping in trailer loading. I am so grateful for their professionalism and willingness to adapt to all situations with gentle care for the animals and respect and care for all we visit. They are our true Ambassadors!!!
When it was time to say goodbye, the minis enjoyed a cool mist from a spray of water on site for those who cared for a brief refresher. The horses and handlers did not object at all to this new experience for the young minis.
Following one more round of picture taking, the minis hopped onto the trailer and headed home for a nice cooling drink of water under the breeze of a ceiling fan.