Guelph woman worried city will make her get rid of therapy pony – Kitchener-Waterloo

Amy Lalonde admits having a therapy pony might seem odd to people.

Keeping a pony in her backyard in Guelph is also rather unusual.

But once she talks to people about how Odin helps her deal with her post traumatic stress disorder, she said many people think it’s great the city has allowed her to keep the white miniature horse cross.

“It’s unbelievable. I’ve gone from having two or three panic attacks a day, not being able to get up off the couch, being so weak and so tired all the time, to I have maybe one panic attack a week now,” Lalonde said, standing beside a ring she and her husband built for the small animal, a cross between a miniature horse and a Shetland pony.

“I have energy again. I’m becoming productive again. I was playing the other day. I haven’t felt joy like that – I can’t even remember the last time,” she said.

Odin sticks its head through the fence looking for treats. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

She doesn’t understand how or why it works, “but it is and it’s just from hanging out with Odin.”

“If I’m having a really bad day and I can’t do anything, I’ll just come out and I’ll sit beside his pen and pet him and talk to him,” she said.

“I have two dogs and, I mean, they don’t have anywhere near the same effect as Odin does.”

But Lalonde said after having Odin for a month, the city and the Guelph Humane Society have received complaints.

Now, she’s worried they’re going to tell her she can’t keep Odin.

Research shows therapeutic benefits

Dr. Katrina Merkies is with the University of Guelph’s animal biosciences department. She says there’s been a lot of research into the benefits of equine therapy. Her research focuses on how the animal is affected by it. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

There is science and research to back up Lalonde’s positive response to her four legged friend.

Dr. Katrina Merkies, an associate professor with the University of Guelph’s animal biosciences department, said there are a number of studies that show the…

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