LEBANON — While a chilly downpour took place outside, a dog, a mini-horse and a pony helped spread warm Christmas cheer inside the Edward C. Allworth Veterans Home on Tuesday afternoon.
The visit was part of the Linn County 4-H Club's service learning project. Members had sewed stockings, raised money for gifts to fill them, and then delivered them to all 146 residents at the home.
"After the kids all sewed the stockings, the kids all came together to help stuff the stockings and get the gifts ready," said Andrea Leao, Linn County 4-H outreach coordinator. "This is the last part, delivering the gifts, and actually seeing the veterans."
The Reigning Riders 4-H of Tangent brought some of their horses along with them as part of the stocking delivery visit.
Leao said making that trip was an important part of the project.
"Being part of 4-H is getting them closer to communities," she said.
This is the second the group has visit the veterans. With clearer weather last year, the group performed Christmas carols outside and on horseback.
"We had to change that a little bit this year, and go inside to say, 'Merry Christmas,'" Leao said.
While there wasn't any horseback caroling, several veterans home residents braved the wet weather outside to greet the full-size horses that couldn't make it inside.
Bess Broce, assistant recreation director of the veterans home, said she was contacted by the 4-H about bringing the animals over.
"The veterans love animal therapy of any kind," Broce said. So she quickly agreed.
Roy Larson, a veterans home resident, was quite surprised by the horse visiting his room.
"Oh, boy, isn't that something — that's a horse," he said.