Minia­ture horse trots into the hearts of res­i­dents at Blue Bell Place

The Ambler Gazette - - POLICEREPORTS - By Eric Devlin

Betty High­ley got the sur­prise of her life when her dreams trot­ted into re­al­ity.

High­ley, a res­i­dent of Blue Bell Place As­sisted Liv­ing and a mem­ber of the “Bucket List Club,” got to take care of a minia­ture horse IoU WhH fiUVW WLPH Ln FloVH Wo 10 years Sept. 6.

The Bucket List Club at Blue Bell Place helps iden­tify ways for res­i­dents to thrive by al­low­ing them to sug­gest ac­tiv­i­ties that they have dreamed of do­ing again, but haven’t been able to do in a long time. While many res­i­dents have UHTuHVWHd WhLngV lLNH fiVhLng oU learn­ing a new lan­guage, High­ley said she’s wanted to take care of a horse again and as­so­ci­ates at Blue Bell Place said they were ex­cited Wo finDlly PDNH LW D UHDlLWy.

Stand­ing just 35 inches high, Pene­lope is a minia­ture horse that lives at the Ev­ery­thing Lit­tle carm, a 5-acre fam­ily farm in Bed­min­ster, Bucks County. The farm’s owner, Donna Beers, res­cued Pene­lope from a likely trip to the slaugh­ter­house and got her FHUWL­fiHd DV D WhHUDSy SHW WhUough the Delta So­ci­ety. Pene­lope’s Help­ing Hooves has been bring­ing joy and heal­ing to spe­cial needs chil­dren and adults in schools, nurs­ing homes and hosSLWDlV VLnFH 2006. BHHUV VDLd 3H- ne­lope is a wel­come sight when she goes on vis­its to nurs­ing homes and schools and is even VPDll Hnough Wo fiW Ln Dn HlHvD­tor, bring­ing smiles wher­ever she goes.

AIWHU WhH VuUSULVHd 81-yHDU-old High­ley got to meet Pene­lope and en­gage in some much needed cud­dling, the two lead a minia­ture parade around the com­plex.

High­ley said the T-year-old Pene­lope re­minded her of her fiUVW hoUVH, Molly B., WhDW VhH goW whHn VhH wDV 15 yHDUV old whLlH liv­ing in Skip­pack. She said horses have played a big part in her life and she owned them un­til her “chil­dren grew up and stopped rid­ing them” and she moved to a con­do­minium.

The gen­tle-tem­pered Pene­lope al­lowed ev­ery­one to pet her and rarely made any sort of fuss at all.

“f think this ab­so­lutely has thrown my de­pres­sion f was in,” High­ley ex­claimed. “f haven’t IHlW WhLV hDSSy Ln DW lHDVW 10 years. f feel like f could just get on a horse and ride off.

“They’re dif­fer­ent from chil­dren,” High­ley said re­gard­ing horses. “Eas­ier to love.”

Emily Cuff, ac­tiv­i­ties di­rec­tor at Blue Bell Place, said the Bucket List Club has only been around for three months and she is still sur­prised by the num­ber of ac­tiv­i­ties they are able to make hap­pen.

“ft’s truly re­mark­able to see their re­ac­tions,” when res­i­dents get to see a wish come true, she said.

fn a few weeks, she said, they wLll EH Iul­fil­lLng D UHVLdHnW’V wLVh to go ice skat­ing again.

“ft’s amaz­ing how many [or­ga­ni­za­tions] will agree [to help],” she said. cor ex­am­ple, she said in re­gards to ice skat­ing, she sim­ply called up a rink and the em­ploy­ees said they could make it hap­pen to her as­ton­ish­ment. She said the pro­gram al­lows res­i­dents to be in their “el­e­ment” and ex­pe­ri­ence “what’s on their mind, all day.”

Plans are al­ready in the works to bring back Pene­lope, this time with a car­riage so High­ley can take a ride.

Gazette staff photo by ERIC DEVLIN

Betty High­ley hap­pily pets Pene­lope dur­ing the horse’s visit to Blue Bell Place Sept. 6.

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