Residents of Meadow View Healthcare and Salem Crossing were expecting another day of the “new normal” thanks to the Covid-19 virus.
Were they ever in for a big surprise?
As Holly Ann Lee Thompson, the executive director of Salem Crossing, said, “We’re offering something we’ve never done before. It’ not normal. Horses…people love horses.”
In this case, it was the ASC Cavalry, Horses of Hope.
Wednesday afternoon, Wess Jackson, co-owner of American Senior Communities (ASC), pulled up with his wife, Marci, two of their therapy horses, a pony, and a dog.
Jackson described the horses as “essential employees.” On Wednesday he had Preacher and Titus along with pony Romeo. They also had their dog, Sinch along.
“It’s much harder on residents now with the isolation requirements, with visitors, etc., so these guys are essential for the emotional health of our residents.”
Jackson said his equines are therapy horses and anyone watching would see their visit was clearly therapeutic.
At the Meadow View visit, executive director, Joe Cox, led Romeo around the outside of the facility.
“Residents came to the windows to clap and wave as the animals paraded past. This has been an awesome day for our residents, something they were very excited about,’ he said.
Jackson and Marci guided the horses from window to window, prompting smiles and laughter from those inside.
“Hey, hey, you need a new roommate?” Jackson shouted to one resident through the window. “How about this guy right here?”
Jackson said they visited a couple of communities earlier in the spring and were so overwhelmed the response, they decided to take their dog and pony show on the road.
Their hope now? To visit every single one of them, spreading joy and hope to those in need of a lift and a little nuzzling…through the window.
ASC has 87 communities across Indiana and the Jacksons have visited more than half and expect to complete the circuit in the coming weeks.
Jackson said their hope is when the quarantine is over to come back and bring the horses to bring the residents, their families and staff outside to share in visiting with the animals in person.