South Florida

Former Horse Trainer Living At Elderly Care Center Gets Special Visit

NBC Universal, Inc.

A man living at a memory care center in Weston was reunited with one of his passions: training horses. 

Matteo Pecoraro lives at The Palace Weston, a senior living community. On Friday, the staff there brought their residents various animals for them to interact with as part of their activities programming. 

"I've had horses since I was 18-years-old,” said Matteo Pecoraro, who’s now 84-years-old. 

Friday, that passion was reignited when “King David” and “Harvey” from the HorZinn Around Farm in Davie visited him. 

His son, Anthony Pecoraro, told NBC 6 his father has always had a special connection with horses as he trained them for decades.

The love for horses and the business surrounding them was passed down from generation to generation. 

"This is big because my father, he bought a place in Southwest Ranches, and started breeding and stuff,” Pecoraro said. “He's had the whole thing since they're born. It was really nice. Every time he sees horses, he lights up." 

The staff at the facility hoped to spark Mr. Matteo’s memories by exposing him to horses and other animals. 

Pet therapist Michael Rosentha says there are plenty of benefits to this type of interaction, including calming people who’ve experienced trauma and helping those experiencing memory loss to remember certain things. 

"When people are going through traumatic time, when they’re going through a difficult time, playing with a dog can be so therapeutic,” Rosentha said. 

The staff at The Palace says they work to get to know their residents and do more of what brings them joy. 

"Most residents here are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia but I don’t see that,” Activities Director Justin Valdes said.

“I see human beings that have dedicated their lives and provided service to our communities so this is a time where I like to pay homage to them now that they're here with us,” Valdes said.

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