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TMH adds Scout the horse to animal therapy program

Posted at 11:25 PM, Nov 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-05 23:25:09-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Scout, an 18-year-old therapy expert, recently joined Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare's animal therapy team at Mahan Farm.

His specialty? Humans.

"What we do is pair certified therapy animals, and we share them with patients and clients," said Heather Gainey.

They're helping patients in recovery regain some of their strength.

"Whether it's brushing his main or brushing his body, they can do balance exercises walking up and down the driveway," Gainey said.

TMH's therapy animals also help many regain some confidence

"When you're around an animal, your blood pressure lowers, your cortisol level decreases, oxytocin and endorphins are increased," said Gainey.

Scout joins Snuggles and Bella, the two other horses on the animal therapy team.

"Any opportunity to bring an animal into an environment that breaks up the norm and makes people feel good is a real win," said Haley Cutler, Scout's owner.

Cutler says she's happy that she can bring her long time friend to help people feel a little bit better.

"The program has a huge positive impact on people's lives," Cutler said. "There's all kinds of evidence of the sort of physical benefits and emotional benefits of bringing animals to healing spaces, and I think it's sort of a novelty and really fun to have a horse show up at a hospital or show up at a rehab facility."

Helping patients, one horse at a time

"We're really glad to be part of this," said Cutler.

The animal therapy team is only holding contactless and virtual meetings with Scout but soon hope to get back to their normal therapy sessions.