Flirty the miniature service horse from La Vista
A La Vista woman is used to double takes, sometimes triple takes when she walks in public with her service animal. That's because she can trot and gallop into stores all the while taking care of her owner.
Flirty the miniature service horse is Abrea Hensley’s service animal.
Hensley is allergic to dogs but she loves training horses.
"It kind of made sense to get a horse,” she said. The reason Hensley has a service animal isn't a dog and pony show.
"There was some sexual abuse when I was a kid,” she said. Hensley was also caught in the middle of an active shooter incident several years ago. It left her with emotional scars that can affect her physically.
"I was not able to really leave the house much,” Hensley told 6 News. "Usually I will end up completely shut down sitting in a corner somewhere having a hysterical sobbing attack."
They've started going on excursions with their new friends Myranda and her service dog, Jessabelle. The four of them recently went to the zoo for the first time.
"She's a blue tick coon hound – she's apparently going to lay down,” said Myranda.
The trip was a success. The zoo animals seemed to like Flirty. So do the kids.
When Flirty or Jessabelle are touched they can be distracted. Even if the strangers are well-meaning and friendly their distracting touches can hurt the people the animals are supposed to be helping.
"I can be walking and hear a loud sound like a car backfire or something and it sounds like a gunshot,” Myranda said.
Flirty may look cute but she's hard at work. Abrea just asks that if you spot them trotting around town, please don't pet the pony.
"If you wouldn't do it to a wheelchair don't do it to us,” she said.
Abrea has only had Flirty less than a year. The pony is potty trained too.
"If she needs to go to the bathroom and we're at a store she starts stomping her feet to let me know that we need to take a break and go outside."
While she asks that people don't distract the pony in person, she tells them to follow their adventures online.