HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. — A pair of specially-trained furry friends greeted visitors at the Highland Park Library Monday afternoon.
Poppy and Winnie, miniature therapy horses from the Mane in Heaven Organization, were on hand to offer their hooves to help anyone experiencing anxiety, stress or trauma as a result of the 4th of July shooting that happened one week ago.
“Animals are great therapists,” said Dina Park, President of Mane in Heaven. “They’re nonjudgmental. You can pet them, you can hug them and it just reduces stress and anxiety.”
According to their website, Mane in Heaven brings their miniature therapy horses to a wide variety of communities in order to provide programming where participants can “visit, pet, hug, groom, walk, and make memorable connections” with their therapy horses.
On top of Poppy and Winnie providing emotional support for local residents, the community also stepped up to provide resources for those dealing with trauma experienced due to the 4th of July parade shooting.
“There’s been a real outpouring of love for our kids,” said Heidi Smith, executive director of the Highland Park Library. “[People] have sent food and a thousand books on grief, trauma recovery … and how to talk to your kids if they’re scared or have anxiety.”
If you are looking to pay a visit to Poppy and Winnie at the highland Park Library but missed out Monday, the miniature therapy horses will be back Wednesday from 1-2 p.m.