March 10, 2017
While Rascal was healing Rommy was very busy last week. First there was training volunteers how to clean his stall, then elevator training, celebrating St. Patrick's Day, and visiting friends in Florida Hospital For Children.
Rommy supervised while the kids raced the clock to to get Bandit's and his stalls clean. They did a super job! Rommy was only disappointed that there wasn't any food in his stall when he walked in later on.
Rommy wasn't a big fan of the elevator the second time out to learn about it. Once he met with two officers from the Winter Garden Police Department he became brave and eventually got his rump (and the rest of him) inside the elevator. I think they showed up to encourage Rommy!
Rommy learned that the elevator takes him places. Once on the first floor we headed over to Tack Boutique to visit Nora and show off his festive socks he got there. Rommy looked and looked for treats on the counter, but couldn't find any. He did know that there was something in the bag that I brought with us out of the store.
Rommy loved the elevator! Well, he loved the banana flavored horse treats he received once inside the elevator anyway. Even though he begged for the whole container of them he needed to save some for the next time he took the elevator.
Rommy got to visit all his friends at Florida Hospital For Children on Saturday. He met quite a few new friends outside and he saw that horse in the window again! Even though he didn't whinny we could tell he sort of wanted to.
Once inside the hospital, Rommy became the Pied Piper.
much he did his favorite trick...sleeping. There were requests to gallop Rommy down the hall, but that somehow didn't happen. There was even a horse riding a horse!
It's always a new adventure every time Rommy visits! Yesterday was especially fun and the laughter was contagious!
As Rommy and I headed back to the truck after our afternoon visit I overheard one of the residents on her phone. She was smiling as she said, "they brought a little horse here to visit us old folks!" That made my day.
Good boy, Rommy
P.S. A special shoutout and thank you to Lisa who helped Rommy and me during our visit in the morning! Great job as Assistant Handler!
Rascal spent the rest of Monday outside back with his herd. He eagerly grazed the grass he had missed so much. The vet and I had determined that Rascal's colic could have been from being stuck in his stall for a week without having as much grass as he's used to. His stitches from his surgery needed to stay intact so he wasn't allowed to run around outside. The hay he had and the lack of exercise are the probable causes of the impaction/blockage in his intestines.
It was a very scary, long weekend. A weekend I never want to happen again. I don't want to, but I have to ask everyone if they could donate a $1 (click the Donate page on our website) to Fuzzy Therapy Miniature Horses, Inc. to help with the vet costs that saved Rascal's life. If everyone donated a $1 we could cover the expensive emergency visits from the vet.
Thank you all for following the adventures of our little horses who give so much love to so many people.
We love you, baby Rascal
March 12, 2017
March 8, 2017
March 18, 2017
It was back to work for Rommy at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children! Work for Rommy means relaxing in the air conditioning while being pampered and loved by everyone.
Rommy was quiet and still for the first half of visiting, but became a little antsy during the latter half. We asked him to show off his minor array of tricks without following up with treats. He was quite upset with me about that. He did willingly answer yes and no questions from one child though. It was so much fun to see the child smile when Rommy answered him. You should have seen how happy he was!
Rommy found major comfort in his new shoes and even showed off a little trot to prove it. That brought a lot of giggles! Thank you Comfort Hoofs!
On our way home we had to stop at the feed store to buy more treats. Rommy eagerly picked out the ones he wanted and succeeded at opening the package in the store!
Silly, yet really good boy, Rommy!
Rommy was dressed for spring yesterday as he led me into Health Central Park and then into Inspired Living at Windermere later in the day. Rommy was ready to snuggle. There were questions as to why Rommy was wearing a pink boa. The answer was always that he was ready for spring and pink is a spring color.
There seemed to be an epidemic amongst the residents at both places for they all wanted to keep Rommy. There were plans to build him his own room, there were plans to share him in multiple rooms and there were even discussions of how to sneak him away from me.
There were also many scoldings directed at me. Rommy has gained quite a bit of winter weight and it was noticed. I was reminded that Rommy should go on a diet and exercise. It was heartwarming to hear that grandpas and grandmas still have their parenting skills. Rommy and I will follow through on that request, I promise!
Spring definitely was in the air yesterday as everyone had a silly, good time with Rommy. He was doted on so
We couldn't block the hallway so people followed Rommy to the Disney atrium. Rommy sure has great fans! He stood quietly while they patted him to sleep.
My favorite part of the visit was when a mom carrying her baby stopped by to see Rommy. The baby reached out to Rommy and Rommy reached his nose out to the baby. While the baby squeezed Rommy's nose Rommy stared at the baby with adoration in his eyes. Rommy loves babies!
He loves big people too! Rommy was full of hugs and kisses to give to everyone who wanted them. I could really tell that Rommy was happy to be back "working."
Good boy, Rommy
When someone tells you a story about something happening in their life you instantly try to relate it to an experience in your own. When visiting a nursing home you can't do that. When Rommy and I visit a nursing home we listen to the memories of people no matter how much they remember. It's their time, not ours.
The beautiful moment comes when people realize you're hearing their story.
Rommy is the connection. He does not intrude on their space, he does not ask questions, nor does he interrupt.
March 25, 2017
Extra! Extra! Read all about it!
Feel better good boy, Rommy
P.S. Rommy's herd was instrumental in trying to help him feel better quickly.
Rommy needed to stop downtown yesterday to practice the elevator. To a horse an elevator could be the mouth of a predator that wants to eat them. I had to convince Rommy that in the elevator was the best place to be. The elevator was to become a happy place where treats were available. There weren't any treats outside the elevator so Rommy learned through his stomach that he loved inside the elevator.
Rommy received a treat for getting in the elevator and another before leaving the elevator. The first treat was obvious...get in the elevator get a treat. The second treat was given to Rommy to prevent him from charging out of the elevator. This worked too well. He eventually didn't want to leave the elevator.
The fun part was when we reached the first floor and the door opened we stopped three women in their tracks. It isn't every day you see a horse in an elevator! They were laughing so much because they had just seen another miniature horse down the street! Winter Garden was being invaded by minis!
It turns out that our new friend Susan was training her minis in another part of town. Rommy and I ventured out to find her. We spoke about what we do while Rommy fell in love with Susan's filly Mariah. Susan is beginning her mini therapy program. I am excited to have more therapy teams around since there are so many people who need them.
Rommy and I will be practicing the elevator many more times. I have to convince him that eventually he won't need any treats while in there. I know how to bribe him to get him downtown now though...let's go find Mariah, Rommy!
Good boy, Rommy!
Unfortunately, for the first time in the five years that I've known Rommy he had a fever the night before our visit to a new nursing home. We had to cancel immediately.
Rommy woke up today feeling better, but it would not have been fair to horse or human to keep our scheduled visit. In hopes we can reschedule Rommy and all of us wish it to happen.
March 7, 2017
It was a long, scary weekend for Rascal. Thursday morning he started to roll more than usual. He looked at his stomach often as if to say, "that's what hurts." He didn't have a fever, but he was not very interested in eating. Those are the signs that told me Rascal had colic. Colic is a general term for pain in a horse's gastrointestinal tract and can be fatal.
At that point, I thought maybe it was a reaction to having his surgery the week before. I gave him Banamine to help the pain so he would start eating and drinking in order to flush out his digestive tract.
By Friday morning, Rascal was worse. I called the vet to come check on him. Rascal received IV fluids and other shots to help him flush out whatever was bothering him. It helped him be a little more comfortable, but not for long.
If he didn't have pain medicine Rascal would roll and lay on his back to try to get comfortable. The problem was that if he had too much pain medicine it could bother his stomach even more.
The vet came out again Saturday to give him more fluids and pain medication. Once again it helped a little, but not for long.