BELLEVUE – When someone is diagnosed with a disease or sickness it can change their life, but imagine forgetting anything is wrong with you for just a couple of minutes. That’s exactly what a pet therapy program is trying to do at a local hospital.
What has pink bows, wears fashionable shoes, and is tan and white all over? Well, Rosie of course! It’s not something you see everyday… a horse roaming the halls of a hospital, but at Aurora BayCare Medical Center in Bellevue Rosie is a celebrity.
“Rosie is a miniature horse and she loves to visit,” said Sue Binsfeld.
Binsfeld is Rosie’s owner.
“She is quite the diva,” said Binsfeld.
Sue along with her helper, Shelly, bring Rosie once a week to Aurora BayCare. It’s all part of the hospital’s Pet Therapy Program.
“Here at Aurora we want the best patient experience for each of our patients. So, that’s one of the things that are offered,” said Lead Chaplin Renee Lubinski.
“Each patient has a slip with their name and room number on there and where we are going,” said Binsfeld. “I see all patients, I see children, I see cancer patients, I see patients in the ICU, I see head trauma patients and I don’t know what a lot of their ailments are… it doesn’t matter to me. If I’m asked to go and see them, I go and see them.”
Patients like Diane Duranceau of Green Bay.
“I have ovarian cancer, and I had side effects from my chemo. First time. So it doesn’t happen every time, but it happened this time, and here I am,” said Duranceau.
It’s a sickness that’s impacted Diane’s life in many ways.
“It’s changed everything. It’s changed how you look at life, how you look at friends and family,” said Duranceau.
Diane says there have been ups and downs while staying at the hospital.
“You know, when I feel good I’m busy. So, it’s like, you lay here and you find one position in the bed and that’s not comfortable and then you find, you know, it’s just kind of boring. Not fun,” said Duranceau.
Not fun, until a visit from Rosie.
“You just be happy, she’s just so cute!” said Duranceau.
It’s not only patients who are thrilled to see Rosie visit. Staff at the hospital are just as excited.
“She just makes us happy. You can see it in the hallways and everybody just like glows, she’s here! She’s the most amazing little pony we have ever seen, and she is so loveable,” said staff member at Aurora BayCare, Rosanne Flores.
There’s something you should know about Rosie, she loves treats. Especially peppermint candies.
“She brings joy to many people because she’s got such a large personality for such a small horse, but I think she brings something different to the people who really need her in a sense of a patient who really needs her. She brings them comfort, something else to think about.” said Binsfeld.
“It’s life giving. She’s recognized as an icon at Aurora BayCare and we just appreciate the services and Rosie coming in,” said Lubinski.
“I think she can be out here for another 25 years,” said Binsfeld.
A fun fact, Rosie’s owner says it takes her two hours to get Rosie ready for her hospital visits.