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Healing Hooves
Amazing Animals

Akron, Ohio

 

Horsing around is allowed at Akron Children's Hospital—at least when Petie visits! Hospitals can be scary, so the Shetland pony-miniature horse mix brings fun and comfort to sick kids. "Some kids haven't smiled for a long time, but they light up when they see Petie," trainer Susan Miller says. "He lays his head on the children's beds, and his eyes get big and soft."

PONY PAL  The 13-year-old gets three baths and is sprayed with safe-for-horses disinfectant before making his hospital rounds. (That's to make sure he's superclean for the patients.) After every visit Miller rewards Petie with his favorite treats: peppermint candy and popcorn. Then he goes back to his farm, where he likes to chase other horses and sneak out of his pen. Says Miller: "Petie is an angel at the hospital, but at home he's a little devil!"

 

Text by Pamela S. Turner
Photograph by GlobalP, iStockphoto

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