5 Unusual Therapy Animals

From mini horses to friendly snakes, these unusual therapy animals are giving “creature comforts” a whole new meaning.

Magical Mini-Horses

Tiny horses may seem like something out of a fairytale, but they are, indeed, real—and they can make excellent therapy animals. These horses are just small enough to bring indoors, and their mild temperaments make them a calming presence. In fact, mini-horses make regular appearances at Brookdale Northampton in Pennsylvania, where they bring smiles to residents and hospice patients.

Snuggly Snakes

As the old saying goes, one man’s phobia is another man’s therapy. Snakes have recently gained popularity for their surprising emotional benefits. In the U.K., National Health Services has been using snakes to help patients overcome symptoms of depression in group sessions where they can touch, feed and care for them. Occupational therapist Louise Helsdown says, “They offer unconditional acceptance.”

Lovable Llamas

Is it really surprising that a city as unique as Portland has therapy llamas? Meet the herd from Mountain Peaks Therapy Llamas and Alpacas, who bring fuzzy joy to senior centers and hospitals in the area. While llamas have a bad rap for spitting and kicking, some of them just want to make new friends.

Rats to the Rescue

Did you know that rats are super intelligent and social animals? They even make chirping sounds similar to human laughter when they’re tickled. Despite their reputation, pet rats can be clean, docile and cuddly creatures. All of these traits make them excellent therapy animals, like the rats at Healing Whiskers.

Good-Natured Goats

Forget about the farm—therapy goats are going beyond the barnyard and onto the yoga mat. Goats have become welcome guests in yoga classes across the country, where they love to cuddle with yogis. “Therapy goats don’t need a bond with a human,” says Lainey Morse, founder of Goat Yoga, “so when they walk right up to a person and start to snuggle, or climb on their laps, or lay on their mat — it makes that person feel so special.” 

More Blog Posts to Make You Smile 

Need a pick-me-up? Check out these Five Feel-Like-a-Kid-Again Activities or have a laugh with this 88-year-old comedian.


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