The residents of Gateway Lodge long-term care in Prince George were greeted by a special guest visitor on the warm, sunny afternoon of Friday, October 7. Rapunzelle, a 17-year-old horse from a local farm, was welcomed with joyful enthusiasm for her visit. Gateway residents were able to feed Rapunzelle carrots, pet her face, listen to her owner answers questions about her and her history, and watch as she feasted on the lawn and leaves in the courtyard.
Lynn AuCoin (Gateway’s Recreation Therapist Supervisor) and her team were at the centre of this visit. They made sure everyone in the facility who wanted to meet, feed, and pet Rapunzelle were able to do so. The staff brought between 30 and 40 residents from Complex Care and Assisted Living to the courtyard to visit the special guest over the course of the afternoon. Lynn also facilitated the questions residents had about Rapunzelle for her owners. Of course, Lynn and her team also had pockets full of carrots to give to residents who felt comfortable feeding Rapunzelle.
The residents were delighted with the visit. Many stared in quiet curiosity and affection at the horse, and many more fed Rapunzelle. Some were able to reach out to pet her muzzle or stand to pet her forehead and neck. A common buzz in the courtyard were memories being shared of living on farms, ranches, hobby farms, taking part in carnival pony rides, and other horse experiences from their youth. One resident chuckled about sneaking out of the house at midnight to ride the ponies, and another gleefully remembered running around the legs of the Clydesdales on her family’s property growing up.
Rapunzelle was very well loved (and fed) during her visit to Gateway, and more than once was invited to become a resident herself. A massive thank you to Lynn and the team at Gateway, and to Rapunzelle’s owners for bringing her to visit the residents – we hope we can see her out again soon!