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Horse Hugs

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal-Related, Animals, Human Service Organizations, Human Services

Mission: Horse Hugs is a non-profit, all volunteer group located in North Carolina that uses miniature horses to visit patients in hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, assisted care centers, special needs children, at-risk teens, prisons and juvenile detention centers.

Target demographics: We have been concentrating on Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Centers as we have found that this is a greatly over-looked group that can be very lonely and in need of visitors.

Direct beneficiaries per year: over 600 people

Geographic areas served: Raleigh/Cary area

Programs: Visiting seniors and patients in hospitals

Community Stories

59 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a regular volunteer with Horse Hugs, I have observed first hand the wonderful interactions between the sweet miniature horses and the residents and staff in the facilities that we visit. The horses enjoy being pampered in preparation for the visit and they love all the attention they get from the residents. The residents smile from the first moment they see the horses and many love to snuggle , pet, talk and sing to the horses. The volunteers get to hear amazing life stories that the residents often share in the calming presence of the horses. Sandy often captures these special moments with photographs which she shares with the residents on our next visit. Families, especially grandchildren, want to visit when the horses are coming, so residents enjoy more interactions with their families as well. EVERYONE benefits from the efforts that Sandy expends in making these miniature horse visits possible. What a wonderful organization!!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I began volunteering with Horse Hugs more than two years ago and it has been the most rewarding experience imaginable. Sandy devotes her time and energy to bringing a smile to seniors , special needs children, and many others of all ages and life situations, by bringing her delightful miniature horses to visit. These gentle affectionate animals bring a smile and sense of peace to all who have the opportunity to meet them. They are well trained and calm and can walk directly into a residents room, gently reach over a hospital bed or wheelchair to offer their soft fur or velvety nose for a comforting touch. Sandy takes photographs of the touching interactions and gives them to the residents which extends the benefits of the wonderful experience. The horses receive the best care possible and also benefit from the visitations. It is one of those truly win- win situations where everyone from the volunteers to the residents to the horses benefit from the experience. A fantastic organization !!

Previous Stories
2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a regular volunteer with Horse Hugs, I have observed first hand the wonderful interactions between the sweet miniature horses and the residents and staff in the facilities that we visit. The horses enjoy being pampered in preparation for the visit and they love all the attention they get from the residents. The residents smile from the first moment they see the horses and many love to snuggle , pet, talk and sing to the horses. The volunteers get to hear amazing life stories that the residents often share in the calming presence of the horses. Sandy often captures these special moments with photographs which she shares with the residents on our next visit. Families, especially grandchildren, want to visit when the horses are coming, so residents enjoy more interactions with their families as well. EVERYONE benefits from the efforts that Sandy expends in making these miniature horse visits possible. What a wonderful organization!!

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Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Camp New Hope is a 501c3 non profit no charge facility for children who are either terminally ill or have a life threatening illness. My name is Randy Briwn and I am the director. This was our first year with Horse Hugs and what a positive experience it was. The children loved the horses and Sandy is just awesome. She is so patient, living and kind to these children and their families. The tiny horses are just wonderful. I wish that everyone could experience Horse Hugs! We hope to continue to partner with them for years to come. Just can’t say enough of good things about them.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I volunteer at Camp New Hope located in Ashe County, North Carolina. We are absolutely thrilled to have Sandy and her wonderfully trained miniature horses come each week to interact with our families. (Each week we host a family who have one or more children suffering from a terminal condition.). These horses, and Sandy herself, are able to enhance the lives of the children, families and our volunteer staff members. To see these children reach out and love on these beautiful horses is healing to all involved. A lot of these children only know pain, medical procedures and limitations but these interactions allow them to experience direct contact with loving animals and they are able to forget their limitations for a brief period of time. Their smiles would melt your heart!

Emily B.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I’m a volunteer with this non-profit and it is amazing to see the looks on peoples’ faces when they get to pet these cute little horses. It brings me so much joy to see older people who may not have any other form of joy light up with happiness when they see us coming towards them! Horse Hugs is an amazing organization that i am so happy i have been able to be apart of.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have seen Horse Hugs grow steadily over the years, expanding the number of volunteers, the number of adorable horses and the number of facilities they visit. The one thing that never changes is the joy they bring to people wherever they go. There is nothing like seeing the face of someone who is sick, lonely or having a bad day (and even those who are already having a great day) light up when Sandy and her volunteers bring the horses to visit. This is a very dedicated group of hard-working individuals that are truly passionate about giving back to their community. I know that so many residents and families are incredibly thankful for the difference Sandy and Horse Hugs has made in their lives! Keep up the wonderful work, Horse Hugs!

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a supporter of Horse Hugs for many years. I have watched the organization grow and the good that it does for the community. Sandy brings joy and happiness to the elderly and children. I love hearing the stories of the Nursing Homes with grandchildren showing up to see the horses --- and grandma and grandpa too. Sandy brings pure joy into their lives and they talk about the horses with their friends and can't wait until their next visit.
One other thing Sandy does is Horse rescues --- she gets in her car with her trailer and saves horses from sometimes terrible situations. She nurses them back to good health and then finds them a new home where they are loved. The animals and people that she touches truly don't know how lucky they are. But for me, I know that I am lucky and blessed to have her in my life!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering for the last year and I really enjoy the experience. Horse Hugs is a great organization and brings joy to many people!

1 KyleClark19

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a downright great organization! Sandy is a great person doing great things in the community through Horse Hugs. Over the past few years, I have had the pleasure to volunteer with Horse Hugs and see first hand the benefit it brings to the community. Horse Hugs lifts up the spirits of those it serves and helps brighten the day of so many people. Horse Hugs is a great cause and you can not wrong offering your support.

Previous Stories
2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked with Horse Hugs on and off and every experience has been a great one. Sandy is a great leader and genuinely enjoys bringing happiness to those around her. Every time we bring the horses to a nursing home it seems to make the residents' day. I would highly recommend getting involved with Horse Hugs. It is a great organization that truly makes a difference. And getting to interact with the adorable mini-horses is just a bonus!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I think horse hugs is a wonderful nonprofit. The joy and smiles they bring to our residents when they visit are priceless. The family members and everyone in the building enjoys when they visit

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful non-profit that provides a smile and some joy and love to those who need it. Taking miniature horses to visit people in nursing homes and the like. The horses are adorable and brighten the day of those who are visited. The lady who runs it is very thoughtful and does a great service. If only there were more groups like this, that are so service oriented, the world would be a better place.

Previous Stories
1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Horse Hugs is all about bringing joy. Who wouldn't love seeing these adorable mini horses come visit? Sandy is a giving person and has made a great organization. Wonderful to see a non profit doing a service that brightens peoples lives. Thanks

1 Vicki84

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I feel so honored to have volunteered for Horse Hugs and seeing first hand the love and joy the mini's bring to the elderly. Some elderly may not have many visitors and minis bring love and comfort. The minis are just the right height that they can be petted and hugged. also to give a little kiss or two. I enjoyed the stories the elderly would tell on our visits and I loved to see the smiles on every one faces.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with Horse Hugs and can see the joy that the horses bring to the nursing homes. Horse Hugs not only helps those in the nursing homes, it also brings joy to me as I serve our community. Thanks for all you do!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I must say that this is one of the most heart warming organizations that I have had the pleasure to both volunteer and watch in action. The people who volunteer have hearts of servants and work tirelessly to bring joy and happiness to others. This is an amazing organization with incredible volunteers.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Fabulous organization! Just seeing the look on a resident's face says it all.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I began volunteering with Horse Hugs in November 2016. I had previously volunteered in Pet Assisted Therapy with my Basset Hound. So when another volunteer told me about Horse Hugs and told me that I could also volunteer, I was ecstatic and immediately called Sandy. From the first visit these little horses brought great joy to their clients. I have worked with Sid and Teddy and they both are little gentleman. They give so much that just being with them brightens anyone's day. The whole team has rekindled my love and passion for Animal Assisted Therapy.

1 Donna169

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In my case it's hard to tell who benefits more from the work Horse Hugs does in the community, myself or the sick and elderly we visit. I know I personally enjoy working with the mini's, but more important is the smiles and hugs we receive from those we visit, some of whom may rarely receive visitors. To see their faces light up and to engage them in conversation and a memorable experience is ten times more important than whaevert chores I didn't get done at home that day because I was volunteering. Horse Hugs is medicine for the heart . . . mine and those we serve.

Previous Stories
3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

There is no better feeling than to help bring a smile to the eyes of the sick and elderly. That is what I saw one year ago on my first experience as a Horse Hugs volunteer. Many residents in senior residences or continuing care units get few visitors. For them to see the Horse Hugs miniature horses walking down their halls or coming into their rooms to visit, often dressed in costumes (hand made by founder/owner Sandy Spooner) makes that senior's day, plus gives them something unique to share with their families, friends and grandchildren. To help bring this experience to this very special group of people is very rewarding. I hope to participate in Horse Hug's mission as long as I am needed.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Horse hugs is amazing. I saw firsthand the joy her horses brought to residents of an assisted living home. Sandy and her crew run a top notch program. The horses are well behaved, clean, happy, healthy and many times in costume for different holidays or events. The kind hearts and nature of this program truly lifts the spirits of those blessed with a visit.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My Girl Scout troop had the pleasure of working with Horse Hugs this spring. Sandy runs a top notch organization. She is compassionate with her animals and the patients. Her horses are well trained and treated extremely well. She's also so creative in making costumes for the horses to wear for the different seasons so that return visits are always different. Not only was it a great experience for the girls to get to participate in, by helping prep, handle, and guide the horses, but it also showed them the value of just spending time with those who might need a little cheering up or are feeling lonely. It was such a win/win visit. The patient's spirits were lifted and the girls were inspired. Sandy and her horses are great role models in this community. We are lucky to have them! Sincerely- Heather Hartzog, NC

June N.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Horses have special powers over the human psyche. This organization has tapped into this for a wonderful community service to help others. Help them to keep on course for this amazing project.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the tremendous pleasure is volunteering with Horse Hugs for the past three years and it has proven to be the most profound opportunity of my life. The sheer delight that illuminates the faces of everyone in the room when Sandy walks in with the horses is simpy unforgettable. There is no better feeling than to leave the facilities and your heart is so filled with joy that you can't stop smiling.

1 Carol164

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I love the look of joy on the faces of residents when they receive a visit from the wonderful miniature horses. The photos are worth a thousand words. The Horse Hugs volunteers with their mini horses are second to none.

Previous Stories
1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I think Horse Hugs is a wonderful organization. Their visits to senior citizens in assisted living and nursing homes fulfill a huge need in the community. The little horses bring such joy to all those that they visit; they truly are a blessing, as are the volunteers who work so hard to bring about this helpful and joyful service.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Sandy, her volunteers and her sweet and gentile horses bring joy and smiles to many. I have been privaleged to witness the excitment of having Horse Hugs visit the community where my elderly parents live! The picture below says it all! It was a special moment in time. Thank you Sandy for your generous spirit! Thank you Horse Hugs for sharing your love!