2nd Prize Singles, Contemporary Issues

30 November 2020

Jérémy Lempin, France

Doctor Peyo and Mister Hassen

Marion (24), who has metastatic cancer, embraces her son Ethan (7) in the presence of Peyo, a horse used in animal-assisted therapy, at a palliative care unit in Calais, France, 30 November.

Animal-assisted therapy (pet therapy) is used in many clinical environments, especially in psychological therapy and palliative care. Animals appear to be able to reduce anxiety and stress, and also to have physical effects, such as lowering blood pressure, improving heart rate, or helping in pain management. In hospices, the aim is to use the natural bond between humans and animals to provide comfort, peace, and companionship. Horses seem particularly suited for palliative care as they are especially in tune with their surroundings. Peyo works with his trainer Hassen Bouchakou at Les Sabots du Coeur, an organization devoted to animal-assisted therapy, and to scientific research into the subject. He supports around 20 patients each month.