Care Community stories

Black Jack is in the house!

19th September 2019 | 5 min read

It’s not unusual to walk into an Opal home and find a faithful dog flopped at the feet of a resident or a cat curled up in another’s lap. Animal therapy provides wonderful benefits to our residents, but one regular visitor to both Murdoch Gardens and Alfred Cove in Western Australia might come as quite a surprise.

black jack and opal resident

Black Jack the Clydesdale Horse is a gentle giant who has caused quite a stir. Suffering a rare medical condition from birth, Black Jack was lovingly hand-raised by his devoted owner. His precarious start to life meant he has required a lot of human interaction over the years and as a result, he loves attention and quickly develops close bonds with the people he meets. Whilst he has a lovely life on five acres with his horsey mates, Black Jack’s owner felt his delightful nature should be shared with others. It’s from here his work as a therapy horse developed.

Black Jack regularly visits both Murdoch Gardens and Alfred Cove to spend time with residents. Lifestyle Coordinator at Alfred Cove, Carla Roncati shares,

“Black Jack’s visits are greatly anticipated by our residents and the buzz of excitement and discussion lasts for days afterwards. Many of our residents have owned horses in the past and he provides a wonderful talking point for reminiscing and sharing stories within our home.”

black jack and opal resident

When the weather is fine, Black Jack spends time outdoors with residents, enjoying carrots, his favourite treat. For residents who aren’t mobile, Black Jack simply goes to them, visiting them at their bedside. If they happen to be on a higher floor, he even takes the lift. The sight of a fully-grown Clydesdale in a lift and striding along the corridors is something to behold and we’re pleased to share that his manners are impeccable!

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