Marsha Craig of Raynham, Mass., and Lily, a Miniature Appaloosa, are a Registered Therapy Team—Lily passed the Pet Partner evaluation at just one-and-a-half years old.
They also work with Tufts Paws for People, a non-profit organization associated with the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. So, naturally, when Lily began having issues with locking stifles, Marsha chose to bring her to Tufts Hospital for Large Animals for a successful consultation and evaluation.
Marsha says that, as a senior citizen, Lily has given her and Jack Martin purpose to stay active in their retirement years, recalling a defining moment in their therapeutic endeavors: “We stood outside a pediatric room with our supervisor and four doctors. The doctors kept saying that there was no point to the horse going in, as the patient hadn’t responded to doctors, nurses, friends, or family,” she says.
But when one doctor decided there was nothing to lose, Lily, Marsha, and their supervisor entered the hospital room. “The supervisor and I saw a smile on the patient’s face when I had Lily kiss her arm,” Marsha remembers.
As the doctors moved closer, Marsha continued. “I said to the girl, ‘I think I saw a smile on your face, so now I’m going to ask Lily to kiss you on your cheek’ and I touched her cheek where Lily would kiss. Lily kissed and there was no mistaking the smile on her face.
“The doctors were talking lowly and then asked if I would have Lily do that again. It made my heart soar when the smile happened again. These actions were proof for the doctors that the girl was indeed reachable and it was all captured on video to share with medical staff and parents. The following month she was discharged.”