Miniature horse joins therapy animal team at Methodist Hospital

What’s got four hooves, a long tail, a snazzy vest, and matching pink bows? Methodist Hospital’s newest employee, Bambi the miniature therapy horse!

“(Bambi) makes hospital visits to patients and just kind of gets their morals up and spirit since she’s at the hosp– they’re at the hospital,” said Alexa Farris, Bambi’s handler and ER manager for Methodist Hospital.

Bambi does her job well. From older patients to young kids, even the doctors and nurses in between, Bambi spreads joy.

She’s the first hospital-based therapy horse in our state and works alongside three full-time therapy dogs.

But we’re all asking the same question here — why a mini horse?

“This pandemic, it was very, very hard on everyone, including the health care workers, the patients coming into the hospital, the visitors coming into the hospital,” Farris said. “And we were just trying to see, ‘OK, what can we do to brighten up people’s spirits?’”

Seeing the unexpected has physical benefits as well, like lowering blood pressure and reducing physical pain.

Bambi has been working for two months now. Farris hopes she’ll pave the way for other animals to join their fleet.

“There can be pigs as therapy animals. There can be many other therapy animals out there. And I think she just shows that it doesn’t just have to be a dog that brings light into someone’s eyes,” Farris said.

Bambi is still young, only four-years-old, so she doesn’t have a set schedule yet. If you see her around, feel free to give her a pat.

Y’all…it’s the story we have all (maybe just me) been waiting for. @SAHealth210 has a miniature therapy horse named Bambi! She’s been hard at work for 2 months now, turning heads and making people smile. You’ll get to meet this ray of sunshine tonight on the #NightBeat @ksatnews

— Leigh Waldman (@LeighWaldman) December 21, 2021