'Spirit' the therapy unicorn spreads joy to those who need it

- A sneaker-sporting, bow-wearing unicorn trotting through the halls of Manor Care Health Services in Tampa is not something you see every day.

'Spirit' is more than just a miniature horse dressed up like a unicorn. He’s a certified therapy animal, and specially trained to handle different environments.

“Growing up is overrated. It's much more fun to believe in the magic,” said Brittany Beard.

Brittany believes. That is why she started Unicorn Hugs. The non-profit organization uses Spirit to spread joy to those who need it most.

“We go inside the nursing homes and the children’s hospitals and see their faces light up and smiles all around. It’s truly the best job in the world,” Brittany told FOX 13 as she rubbed Spirit’s mane.

Maybe it’s the unicorn horn, or the cool kicks, but there’s something about Spirit that helps bring out the kid in everyone he meets.

“In the magical world of unicorns he is our favorite unicorn,” said Teena Preble, activities director at Manor Care. “It’s very therapeutic. It takes the residents out of reality and into a magical world where they can just relax for a little while."

Spirit stays calm and cool for every rub, every kiss, and every picture.

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