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Horse visits Virginia rehab center for window therapy to 'lift spirits'

Posted at 8:52 PM, May 16, 2020

PETERSBURG, Va. -- A horse took part in a Petersburg rehabilitation center's initiative to brighten the day for patients Saturday.

Harley the horse visited Encompass Health as part of the facility's "pet therapy through the window" program.

Staffers said the program aims to address the emotional well-being of patients during COVID-19 pandemic since precautions prevent residents' families and friends from visiting them.

While Encompass is not dealing with any COVID-19 cases at their facility, Therapy Operations Director Kristin Niedes said brightening the day for their patients is "even more important now."

"They're not able to see their families, except for through the windows," Niedes said. "They're not able to get outside like they used to... So being able to bring in the animals like this, really just lifts their spirits and gives them something to look forward to."

Staffers at Encompass said their patients loved seeing Harley.