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‘Doctor Peyo’, a wonderful therapeutic horse, was a comfort to over 1000 patients who were spending their last few hours of life

Some animals and humans have surprisingly loving bonds.

We have wonderful news from a French hospital where a 15-year-old horse named Peyo is serving as a therapy companion. This horse helps patients in hospitals to cope with loneliness and pain. According to My Modern Met, he comforts terminally ill cancer patients.

Peyo was originally set to compete in equestrian events, but as time went on, his handler, Hassen Bouchakour, began to see that his horse had a different purpose. Peyo would single out specific individuals in a gathering after performances and stick beside them.

Bouchakour understood why he chose people who were physically or mentally ill. He then took the horse away from the competition and used it to help people in need.

Currently, Bouchakour works with the therapy group Les Sabots du Coeur (Blocks of the Heart) researching Peyo’s amazing skills.

After the encounter with the horse, they found that the patients no longer needed to give large amounts of medicine. This is a curious process. After this encounter with Peyo, the pain of the patients also seemed to decrease.

“I am to some extent this horse’s collateral damage, I didn’t ask for this. It took me a while to accept it. It put an end to my successful career as a sportsman, and as a showman.” Bouchakour told Inspire More.

Bouchakour and Peyo started volunteering at Calais Hospital in 2016 and now visit patients in the palliative care unit practically every day. Because of his improved abilities, the horse was nicknamed “Dr. Peyo.”

Payo stands by the hospital door with one leg raised, giving his handler horse signals that require the attention of patients.

“It was very complicated to no longer be the master, and to be forced to admit that when Peyo detects someone is sick, I am no longer in control. When he decides, I cannot hold him back, it’s a need, it’s visceral, it is in him, he needs to go, and cling on to the specific person he has chosen.” Bouchakour added.

Everyone in the hospital, including the staff and the patients, loves this wonderful healer very much. Payo is especially helpful when a patient is approaching the end of their life. They spend their last moments with Peyo and die a more peaceful death because of him.

He wipes Peyo with disinfectants, cleans him carefully and even teaches Peyo to signal when he needs to use the restroom. The horse signals to Bouchakour that his body should be shifted from side to side and taken outside. It takes only two hours to prepare Payo every time you go out.

Hassen said, “With Peyo, we try to recreate life at the end of life, in order to fight, and create an energy to accompany families and caregivers. I accompany him but I let him do what he wants, he’s the one who decides.”

Since Peyo began doing this amazing service as a therapy horse, he has helped more than a thousand people in their last hours. Moreover, he also has a genuine friendship with his handler. “Peyo is my other half, he is my life partner. He is everything to me.” Bouchakour said.

According to, Nature Knows

(Photos right to original owner)



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