Therapy miniature horse visits Saint Alphonsus patients

The mini-horse brought lots of smiles.

Saint Alphonsus in Boise had an unlikely four-legged visitor Thursday afternoon stopping by patients' rooms. Standing at 32 and 1/2 inches tall and weighing only 150 pounds, Domi - a therapy mini horse, has a big job.

"We come to the hospital to visit with patients and family members and staff, pretty much anyone who just needs to have a few minutes to smile and kind of forget about what's going on in their life right now," said Brian Hohstadt, pet therapy handler.

Years ago, Hohstadt started with a therapy dog then he thought of a very different way to help patients.

"I used to ride horses, I grew up around horses, lets try a miniature horse," said Hohstadt. "I knew they would let you train them so I got her and started working with her and she passed on the first time with a perfect score." 

Arthur Turner is a patient at Saint Alphonsus and he says it's not everyday you see something like this.

"How many would say they've been in a hospital with a horse?" said Turner. "Anytime you see something unusual it's a happy situation. You can't make nothing bad out of that at all. It was inviting to me."

For Hohstadt, visiting patients, even if it's just for a few minutes, is his true calling.

"I get their life and I can hear the stories about their childhood, about their family and their childhood," said Hohstadt. "All of those stories. That to me defines that individual so to me it's everything. To me volunteering is just kind of my whole existence, I hope it's my entire legacy, it has changed my entire life."

Copyright 2016 KTVB


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