HAMMONTON - The Hammonton Center for Rehab had a couple of special guests last week as they welcomed Duncan the miniature horse and Moonpie the Shetland pony for a visit with the residents.

Duncan has been visiting the center since the fall of last year, but Feb. 21 was Moonpie’s very first visit.

“We just picked up Moonpie from Tennessee about five weeks ago,” said handler Shawn Emmons. That does not mean the Moonpie is new to being a therapy animal, in fact he has been doing it for most of his 14 years of life.

Duncan, 5, also has been a therapy animal for most of his life. Both of them went through intense training to become therapy animals.

“A lot of the certifications are about environment,” said Emmons. The training included things such as maneuvering in tight spaces and not being phased by possibly being bumped by a wheelchair.

While the two get along now, there was an adjustment period where they were not quite sure about each other. “It took some adjusting and figuring out who was in charge but the two are getting along now,” said handler Colleen Langeveld.

Even though Duncan is the one who is a horse, he is actually smaller than Moonpie. That does not matter though as both are the perfect size for roaming the halls and comforting those in care facilities, nursing homes, hospitals and schools. And if the smiles on the faces of the residents at the Hammonton Center are any indication, Duncan and Moonpie are very good at their jobs.

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