Resident Feature

Mini horses bring joy to John Muir nurses

On Sat., Sept. 4, five adorable mini horses made overworked critical care staff at John Muir Hospital smile and melted their stress away. 

Two critical care nurses, Dana Maiorana and Christina Amate, who have been friends since 6th grade, organized the visit from Angels for Minis, a nonprofit horse rescue located on Northgate Road. Dana and Christina, who both rode horses when they were young, have been volunteering at Angels for Minis for the past three years and noticed how their time with the horses helped relieve stress and gave them a sense of peace and happiness. 

“The past year and a half have been really hard [on the nurses and staff due to the pandemic],” said Dana. “We’ve seen a lot of anxiety and stress. We thought it would be nice if we could bring the minis to our co-workers.” 

After approvals from the hospital and paperwork, that thought became a reality. Scout, a certified therapy animal, was allowed inside to the break room to visit with staff who were working in critical care. Four other horses, Fiona, Angel, Willow and Cisco, were outside the hospital near the employee entrance for all employees and family members to enjoy. Some even came on their day off and brought their children. 

“It was a very special thing to see,” added Dana. “It was so therapeutic to see some teary-eyed people being able to hug and love on the animals. This was 100% for the staff. We take care of each other.”  

To find out more about Angels for Minis, who have rescued over 700 mini horses over the years, visit their website or their Facebook page: angelsforminis.com. 


By Kara Navolio, Resident since 1991 | Photo credit Dana Maiorana