2000-pound ‘therapy bull’ spreads cheer at a senior center in Iowa

You may have encountered therapy dogs or therapy cats at least once in your life. These animals are trained specifically to provide affection, support, and comfort to individuals who require it. They are usually deployed in hospitals, schools, and senior centers.

But have you ever heard of therapy bulls?


The residents in WesleyLife Senior Community surely have. Every so often, rodeo clown Jason Dent and his sidekick – a 2000 pound bull named Ole – visit the facility to bring smiles and laughs to its elderly tenants.

When Ole walked into the senior center recently, no one avoided him. Despite his mean look and crooked horns, they all knew that he was a gentle giant, and a few even inched closer to pet him. Although they were already in their senior years, some who were bold enough tried saddling up for a ride of a lifetime.


Bulls may not be an obvious choice for therapy animals, but 14-year-old Ole surely has captured the hearts of the residents at this senior center. For a creature his size, Ole is tremendously sweet.

“I’m trying to celebrate him because I think he’s awesome,” Jason tells CBS of their visits. “And I feel like these people are awesome.”


One resident, 96-year-old Wilma Hoekstra, had never ridden a bull once in her long life – until Jason and Ole came to the center. An opportunity like that is something that she just can’t let pass, so she decided to finally ride one after all this time.

“I think it’s because I got wiser,” Wilma said of her decision.


Allowing a bucking bull inside a retirement home might seem like a crazy idea, but after seeing how happy the residents were while Ole was there, it doesn’t seem so outlandish after all!

Watch the video below to see one of Ole’s visits at the nursing home.