Thomasville farm brings animal therapy, unicorns to senior living center

Thomasville farm brings unicorns to senior living center

THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WALB) - Since the COVID-19 pandemic, residents at senior living centers haven't been able to socialize or have visitors, like normal.

On Friday, Southern Pines Senior Living in Thomasville gave their residents a morning to remember.

Horses and rescue dogs, came to Southern Pines to greet residents—giving them a chance to get out of the facility and enjoy a fun morning.

Unicorns and dogs in bright tutus made for even brighter smiles.

Residents sat outside with masks on to pet and connect with these loving animals.

Christy Ridenhower Executive Director, Southern Pines Senior Living
Christy Ridenhower Executive Director, Southern Pines Senior Living (Source: WALB)

“So this pulls them out of the building. You know with this beautiful sunshine, this is what is really healthy for them. And being able to come outside and see the horses and dogs is just very exciting for them," said Executive Director of Southern Pines, Christy Ridenhower.

She said it’s been difficult since residents aren’t able to have as much socialization.

That’s why the center teamed up with Foxwater Farm to bring some joy to the campus.

Mary Ellen Payne Owner, Foxwater Farm
Mary Ellen Payne Owner, Foxwater Farm (Source: WALB)

“We brought two unicorns and four rescue dogs to visit the residents. My grandmother was very excited anytime she ever had company when she was in a nursing home and I just think if you can make someone’s day, you should,” said MaryEllen Payne, owner of Foxwater Farm in Thomasville.

Raising ponies and also rescuing dogs, she’s used to serving others on a daily basis.

She said many of the residents wanted to do more than just watch the ponies stroll through.

“I had several that wanted to ride. And they all wanted to pet and love and rub on the ponies. And it was a wonderful morning for all of us,” said Payne.

“Animal therapy is just incredible to watch. It just brings smiles to the resident’s faces," explained Ridenhower.

Payne told us you have to pay it forward, and she’s happy she could do just that.

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