A man from Stockton with a life-limiting condition had the chance to re-ignite his passion for horses – after his NHS physiotherapist arranged a special surprise visitor to his front garden.
Terry Davis, 65, has been treated in his home by our specialist palliative care team over the last few months.
Terry, who has complex lung disease, has been cared for by his physiotherapist Debra Alton. She has been providing a range of therapeutic interventions for him – when she discovered their joint love of horses.
Debra said: “During my conversations with Terry it became clear his passion for his love of horses. Terry owned up to 15 horses at one point. But he sadly had to find new homes for them due to his deteriorating health.
“We often exchanged experiences during his physiotherapy sessions about them. This gave Terry a lot of comfort talking about normal life situations rather than the constant reminder about his ill health and made him feel like a normal person.
“I always joked about that one day I was going to bring my horse to meet him. That I would just turn up with my trailer and he could see him from the window.
“But then thought I actually could make this happen.”
Setting the plan in motion
Debra offered to bring her own horse, Mr Riley, who is 21-year-old gelding (that has been with her family since he was born), to Terry’s front garden to meet him; with the consent from his family.
“I have my own transport so I knew I could make this happen.
“Members of the palliative care team will always try to help our patients and families. And this is one thing that they thought would never happen.
“The whole experience was amazing. Terry didn’t know it was happening and his wife Janet just said that she had a surprise for him. He was completely overwhelmed, as were his family and others watching on.”
Terry was able to stroke and feed Mr Riley from the open window in his front room – with family, friends and neighbours watching on.
Debra added: “I think if Mr Riley was invited in he would have quite happily gone in the house!
“Horses have been widely used for their therapeutic qualities with a wide variety of people with disabilities and post-traumatic stress disorders.”
Terry, who continues to be, cared for by the team at his home for his life-limiting condition, said, “I was so happy and humbled to receive a visit from Deb’s horse.
“I can’t believe someone would do that for me – it made me feel very special and loved.”
Terry’s wife Janet said, “Terry was very overwhelmed by it all. We couldn’t believe how you went above and beyond to do all that for him, it was unbelievable.
“What a memory. The family were so grateful it was amazing!”