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Two women with a miniature pony

Bellinger River District Hospital's Acting Deputy Director of Nursing Jennie Helisma and nurse Bec Fawcett-Ashley who owns Hocus Pocus.

Hocus Pocus weaves his magic with Bellingen patients

Oct 12, 2022

The clip clop of hooves can be heard loud and clear throughout the wards at Bellinger River District Hospital when Hocus Pocus the companion horse visits.

The miniature pony comes all the way from Eungai Creek to visit patients and staff for pats and companionship, brightening their day and spreading his magic wherever he goes. 

Hocus Pocus owner and hospital staff member Bec Fawcett-Ashley said she was lucky enough to purchase the pony at one year of age, and it didn’t take her long to realise that he was born to help others.

“He’s just a very special pony. He will really focus on the patient, putting his nuzzle on their chest and he just stays there until the patient is ready,” Ms Fawcett-Ashley said.

“I usually allow him enough time to form eye contact with the patient, so they get that real bonding feeling. Some of the patients become quite emotional.

“Just a simple pat can bring beautiful memories flooding back, especially for those who have worked on the land. He just knows when someone is not well, and he responds to that.”

It’s not only the patients who adore Hocus Pocus. The staff on duty flock to him as he makes his way through the ward visiting each patient, taking selfies and lining up for a cuddle.

Acting Deputy Director of Nursing Jennie Helisma said having pet engagement in hospitals brings a sense of pure joy to everyone.

“The eyes of the patients and staff really light up and it is just a beautiful sight to see,” Ms Helisma said

“The staff love having Hocus Pocus visit, it really helps builds staff morale.”

Hocus Pocus visits every couple of months and spends his time in Hartley House aged care facility and in the general ward at Bellinger River District Hospital.

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