Oliver the Therapy Donkey is Here to Help You De-stress


The end of the school year is a stressful time for college students. You’re packing up your dorm or apartment. You’re preparing for your summer job or internship. You’re going to have to leave your friends for a few months. And of course, you’re supposed to regurgitate everything you’ve learned over the past semester in your final exams.

You’ve probably heard about therapy dogs visiting schools to help students unwind and get a mood boost during study breaks. Intermountain Therapy Animals (ITA) is a volunteer-run group heaadquartered in Utah that brings therapy dogs to schools and other locations, and this week they were at the Montana State University library visiting with studying students. But it wasn’t just dogs. There was also Oliver, a therapy donkey.

Oliver’s visit to MSU was his first official gig as a therapy animal, according to a report in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. While some students enjoyed interactions with playful dogs, Oliver stood still, eyelids drooping, while students hugged and petted him.

The 8-year-old donkey may be new to therapy work, but he hasn’t spent his days sitting around the pasture. Photos on Oliver’s official Facebook page show him winning halter classes, going on pack trips in the mountains, and pulling a cart in parades.

Leslie Potter is a writer and photographer based in Lexington, Kentucky. www.lesliepotterphoto.com

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Leslie Potter is a graduate of William Woods University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Equestrian Science with a concentration in saddle seat riding and a minor in Journalism/Mass Communications. She is currently a writer and photographer in Lexington, Ky.Potter worked as a barn manager and riding instructor and was a freelance reporter and photographer for the Horsemen's Yankee Pedlar and Saddle Horse Report before moving to Lexington to join Horse Illustrated as Web Editor from 2008 to 2019. Her current equestrian pursuits include being a grown-up lesson kid at an eventing barn and trail riding with her senior Morgan gelding, Snoopy.


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