Amid showing horses at assisted living facilities, Jodi Donoghue watched a horse’s nose rest against a window while a tearful elderly woman touched the same part of the glass from indoors.

It was among many moments that touched Donoghue, who was part of a group that brought four horses to about five assisted living facilities in Pocatello and American Falls last week to lift the spirits of elderly residents, who have been discouraged from going out because they are the most susceptible group to COVID-19.

Donoghue brought her 11-year-old female horse Nelly, which she said is her calmest and gentlest horse of her five. East Idaho residents Shelby Henery and Jovani Pannell also brought their horses, with Henery transporting a second horse, too, that’s a baby.×

“I think maybe a lot of times we forget about our seniors and not even really thinking about what effect this has had on them, being so isolated,” said Donoghue, an Inkom resident. “It was a great feeling just to help them out a little bit and brighten their day.”

Donoghue didn’t have as much of a time commitment for her job as regional sales director at Gold’s Gym in Pocatello because of Idaho’s stay-at-home order, so she decided showing horses to senior citizens was how she was going to fill her week at the end of April.

“We were kind of bored because we were not able to do our normal, everyday activities because of the shutdown,” Donoghue said. “Part of my job is doing community outreach and community events and with the shutdown, that has stopped. … So we just decided to do our own.”

The horses were transported to each location. When they entered assisted living facility grounds, they were decked in glitter and each had a heart painted on them because the endeavor is called Hearts and Hooves.

Residents at some assisted living facilities, including Quail Ridge in Pocatello, were able to go outdoors and pet the animals with social distancing applied.

“Just kind of being locked down and not being able to visit with families, the little extra things the community is doing to show how much they…

This article was sourced from the Idaho State Journal.

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