Gypsy the miniature therapy horse brings comfort to patients at Nemours Children's Specialty Care

Therapy horse help recovering kids

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Children who are receiving aggressive therapy for life-threatening illnesses are getting care from a miniature therapy horse.

The stress of needles, medications and exams are overwhelming to patients and their families. Gypsy the miniature therapy horse helps to provide hope to them at Nemours Children’s Specialty Care.

Sarah Poitevint enjoys making crafts for others before going into aggressive treatment for a disease with no cure.

Content Continues Below

Sometimes while waiting, she gets a surprise -- seeing Gypsy.

"Animals are so special, and I told you she reports to Santa," Gypsy’s mom, Jennifer Pfeiffer, said.

Pfeiffer said Gypsy can sense emotional distress and offer support to kids through walks, hugs and petting.

"Never were they expecting to see a horse in the clinic, and their faces just light up – and they give hugs," Pfeiffer said.

Gypsy's presence helps ease children's fears and reduce the anxiety that can be attached to visiting their doctors.

"When I put her vest on, she knows it's time to go and spread cheer," Pfeiffer said.

Gypsy is known to nuzzle a child in hopes of bringing comfort.

In between visiting with patients, Gypsy takes a break and enjoys some treats, especially French fries.

After her snack, she's back to work.

Gypsy always makes an impression, and she delivers packages to little boys and girls with care.

While some of the children in this story appear healthy, they actually have life-threatening diseases that require constant monitoring, extensive medications and long-term treatments.