Therapy guinea pig brings joy to patients at St. Elizabeth Healthcare

Therapy guinea pig brings joy to patients at St. Elizabeth Healthcare

EDGEWOOD, Ky. (WKRC) – A local woman is bringing holiday cheer to dozens of patients this season along with her pint-sized therapy partner.

For the first time in the Tri-State, a guinea pig has become certified as part of the animal-assisted therapy program at St. Elizabeth Healthcare in Edgewood. And this tiny animal is bringing giant-size joy to patients.

Wherever you go, from the coffee stand up to the hospital nursing areas, Rapunzel, a long-haired coronet guinea pig, has clearly found her calling.

“It’s really good for everybody,” said nurse assistant Ashley Owens.

Rapunzel’s owner, Heather Hauser, had her certified for animal-assisted therapy just a few months ago. She’s one of just 29 guinea pigs in the country certified for therapy, bringing a special kind of magic to the hospital.

“They’re just nice to be with, that’s all,” said cancer survivor Bill (Charles) Pryor said.

Pryor knows a thing or two about magic. Both got into the business for the same reason — to bring joy to people. There was that same joy when Patty Matthews got to meet Rapunzel.

“It feels real good,” Matthews said, petting Rapunzel.

Rapunzel is clearly the perfect distraction for those who often need one in the midst of chemotherapy.

If there’s one purpose for her, it’s easy to see how Rapunzel fulfills it — a higher calling for reducing the more stressful times of life.

If you have a pet with good temperament St. Elizabeth regularly holds classes for you to find out more about getting certified for this therapy. You can call 859-301-2140 for more information.


  1. Bendy Demon on January 28, 2020 at 1:41 pm

    Aw it sounded like she got scared

  2. World color World color on January 28, 2020 at 1:43 pm

    You ummm sorry but I don’t like you

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