“A Man and His Horse (and his dog)”: Healing Love-Pet Therapy

This time last year, John was the most fit, and healthiest person you will ever meet, according to his wife Cindi.

“Boom, Cancer. The world turned upside down,” she said.

When an aggressive, late stage B-cell lymphoma grounded this retired, 50-something Marine Corps test pilot, his horse Aonghas (pronounced Angus) became depressed. John, hadn’t been able to spend time with the horse he bonded with a year earlier.

“Aonghas came to us with a host of personality issues,” Cindi explained. “Mostly severe mistrust and downright fright.”

John worked with the horse and slowly, Aonghas became a completely different animal. “Trusting, confident, and very well mannered (most of the time), Cindi said.

Their dog Luke, adopted from Mid-Atlantic German Shepherd Rescue, “picked” John in 2010. “They are bonded,” Cindi said. There’s no doubt that their horse and dog made a tremendous difference in his recovery, she explained. “John received an allogeneic stem cell transplant last May.”

She said the animals’ love for her husband helped. “I’m 100 percent behind therapy animals.

“ALL animals are therapy animals for pet people.”

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