Dr. Peyo Heals Hospital Patients

When I was in the rehab unit last February, a therapy dog came to visit twice a week. It was a beautiful standard Poodle, but by the time he reached me, he didn’t seem that interested in offering comfort; he just wanted to go home.

If only I’d been in France. Then, maybe I could have been visited by Peyo, a 14-year old stallion who has a particular aptitude for offering comfort. Accompanied by his owner, Hassen Bouchakour, Peyo vists hospitals and nursing homes. There, the stallion is given “free rein” to visit the patients of his choice, often choosing rooms where people are the sickest or dying and then nuzzling or licking them. Of course, since I wasn’t that ill, perhaps he might not have chosen to visit me.

The handsome chestnut is able to create a connection with the patients that is magical — patients become more verbal, more relaxed and happier. The horse has always been drawn to injured and sick people, even seeking them out at competitions.

Bouchakour worked with Peyo for several years to make the horse comfortable in unusual places — such as elevators and hospital rooms — and by housebreaking him. To prepare him for the visits, Peyo is prepped to make him as sanitary as possible: his mane and tail are braided, his hooves are greased and an antibacterial lotion is applied to his entire body, and he’s covered with a blanket.

What’s the most unusual therapy animal you’ve had contact with? Last week when I was vacationing in Florida, my daughter and I came across a man with a therapy dog who helped alert him when his oxygen levels were low. He told us that his German Shepherd Dog was very sensitive to several illnesses and would sometimes react to people that she met, alerting them to a potential medical problem. My daughter and I were relieved that she wasn’t very interested in us!




4 thoughts on “Dr. Peyo Heals Hospital Patients

  1. What an incredible thing. Is Peyo a Selle Francaise (spelling??). I’ve met several animals that seem to know that someone is ill. Or…well, my veterinarian has a clinic cat named Sebastian. Sebastian KNOWS when the pet you’re bringing in is there for euthanizing. he KNOWS. I brought in my beloved Tasha, (a Siamese) years ago, in the last stages of diabetes, and this great big tuxedo cat came into the room and sat on the counter with us. He never said a word, but he was Just. There. To provide what I can only think of is a peaceful send off for the cat..or dog.
    My nephew, a quadriplegic has a Professional service dog, Roxie. I mean Professional as in she cost $25K and took two years to train. She’s not someone’s ‘service dog’ which is really a selfish person’s insistence on taking the dog everywhere because she’s “family”. I’m sorry, but a Chihuahua is not a service dog. Buying a ‘Service Dog” embroidered patch on the Internet does not make your dog a service dog.
    Anyway, at a meet and greet for new service dog owners, I met people who breed Papillons. This small sissy looking dog is the best breed for people who have epilepsy or other siezure causing diseases. They can tell when someone is about to have a seizure and alerts the person in time for the person to get someplace safe, or take medication.

    1. I couldn’t find Peyo’s breed in any of the articles I read. I would have liked to know. The man we met with the GSD gave us a real earful about emotional support pets . . . He said his dog required years of training. He works with a local group to provide service dogs to veterans suffering from PTSD.

  2. I owned horses much of my life and used my quarter horse with the sheriffs department volunteering in many ways. Not a Peyo though. I know there are many peryos out there so hopefully we’ll have some in the USA. I don’t know of any at present. It takes a lot of training for a therapy dog so for an equine therapy partner I can’t even imagine the work once you can even find a horse with connections to ill people. Bless those two. My heart swelled to 100 times watching the video and I won’t even talk about the tears of love.

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