Pony brings joy to Carthage nursing home residents

Nursing home visitor

CARTHAGE, N.Y. (WWNY) - No, it’s not a real unicorn. It’s a 12-year-old Scottish Shetland pony named Dugan.

He and handler Lisa Cole were at the Carthage Center nursing home Tuesday to bring some Halloween spirit to the people who call the place home.

“Not everybody likes a dog,” Cole said. “Sometimes people are afraid, but with the ponies, everybody loves a pony.”

Cole and Dugan didn’t just travel a few minutes down the road to go to Carthage Center. They drove five hours from Orange County to see the residents.

“It’s just really nice to be able to see their smiles,” she said, “and, as you’ll see, they get really excited.”

Window by window, Cole and Dugan trot up and put on a little show that’s greeted by smiles, waves, and laughter from the other side of the glass.

Sometimes there are tears, but not sad tears -- tears of joy. It’s the closest the folks get to visitors right now due COVID-19.

“I do a lot of centers, health care facilities, so and I know these people look forward to it,”

Cole said.

It’s something Danielle Coles also looks forward to. She plans the activities for about 80 residents. She says her favorite part of the visit is “the surprise, really, because it’s not very often you see a pony show up at your window.”

All 32 inches of him.

Dugan will head home to rest his legs, but Cole plans to make the trip back in two weeks with more farm animals. She says it’s her way of making everyone’s day a little brighter.

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