Meet Sampson, the kissing Shetland pony

HAMILTON, N.J. - September 8, 2010

The 300 pound Shetland pony is a therapy pet and each week visits New Jersey nursing homes where he makes the rounds, gently planting a kiss on whoever asks.

When Sampson is around, the patients at Arcadia Nursing and Rehab Center in Hamilton can't help but smile.

Carol Wingertner of Millstone trained Sampson and says he's a natural.

"He fell right into this without a problem. Does elevators, whatever he needs to do. He's quiet, doesn't bump in to anybody. He's patient," Wingertner said.

To make sure Sampson doesn't slip on the floors when he's indoors, he wears special rubber-tipped booties to get around.

When you think of therapy pets you usually think of some cuddly cat or dog. Ponies are not what comes to mind. And though no one can put Sampson in their lap, they love when he visits!

"I love to pet him. I'm 95-years-old and I remember petting a horse as a kid. And I really enjoy his visit here and that he kissed me," patient Carmella Dileo said.

Administrators say interacting with Sampson does wonders for the patients and everyone looks forward to when this 4-footed friend comes calling.

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