For the last several months, Audrie Spake’s father João has been battling a number of health issues, which have left him confined to bed. But while his doctors have been doing everything within their power to help his body heal, João recently received a visitor to help mend his heart as well.
That visitor’s name is Paçoca.
Paçoca is a therapy horse who works with volunteers from the nonprofit Coletivo Inclusão — a group whose mission is to make outreach to people with special needs. And what a difference it can make.
Earlier this week, Spake shared a touching video showing the moment Paçoca came to pay a visit to her father. Sensing, it would seem, the type of interaction João needed most, Paçoca gently nestled against his chest in a quiet exchange of comfort and love.
“He was like that with my father the whole time,” Spake wrote. “It was beautiful!”
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Clearly, it was a visit João won’t soon forget. And, with any luck, it will do more than just remain a memory.
These days, more and more medical professions are recognizing the healing benefits of therapy animals on patients’ health and well-being.
“Animal-assisted therapy can significantly reduce pain, anxiety, depression and fatigue in people with a range of health problems,” the Mayo Clinic reports. “And it’s not only people with health problems who reap the benefits. Family members and friends who sit in on animal visits say they feel better, too.”
João’s daughter seems to agree, writing of Paçoca’s visit: “It was an inexplicable moment.”