18 May 2022

Pet Therapy Gallops into Arcare Brighton

A different breed of pet therapy recently trotted into the Arcare Brighton community.

Rescue Miniature and Shetland ponies, Muffie and Texas were accompanied by Pakenham Rescue Ponies founder and trainer, Dean, as they spent the May morning visiting aged care residents.

“While we have regular pet therapy and visiting pets, it’s not very often that we have the opportunity to have ponies visit the community.” Arcare Brighton Lifestyle Coordinator, Lea Damasco said.

The residents were shocked but delighted to see the two ponies walking through the hallways to meet them.

“This is something else! It’s not every day you see two ponies trotting through the hallways!” One resident said.

Residents beamed as they interacted and patted with the two ponies, with many sharing new and untold stories about their own past experiences with horses. Resident Margaret revealing, “I used to have horses as a child, and I would ride to school every day.”

Ongoing research into pet therapy in aged care settings has found significant social, mental, and physical benefits for residents such as improved communication, mood, behaviour, memory, and social engagement, just to name a few.

“Not only was this a wonderful experience for our residents to engage with these beautiful ponies, but we also saw how it sparked a larger conversation within the community, and how it encouraged residents to reminisce and share their stories.” Lea said.

Pakenham Pony Rescue is a not-for-profit organisation that rescues, rehabilitates, retrains, re-socialises and re-homes abandoned, surrendered, mistreated, lost and un-loved miniature horses, ponies, and other equines. For more information on the organisation, visit

(Please note: To ensure the health and safety of our residents and team members, when a pet visits Arcare residences, all residents, team members, volunteers and visitors who have contact with the pet, perform hand hygiene either with soap and water or, an alcohol-based handrub.)