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Buttons Helps Those in Need


It is a well-known fact that spending time with animals will help you have lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Buttons is a therapy animal that makes dozens of visits to nursing homes each month to help the residents feel less lonely. There is always excitement in the air when Buttons arrives at a facility; often with residents waiting for him in the lobby.

Buttons (full name: Hankering Hannah's Shoe Button) is a 31" miniature stallion who is owned by Tony and Leslie Cunningham of Biardstown, TX. Buttons lives with the Cunningham's on their TLC Miniature Horse Farm where they also host children's parties and sell the horses as pets.


The stallion regularly visits nursing homes and schools. "To see a nursing home resident's face when Buttons comes through their door is an unforgettable experience," says Dr. Amy Ballard, Buttons' veterinarian. "His visits provide a welcome change from routine and a much-needed distraction from pain or infirmity."

Sandra McCormick teaches children with disabilities and takes her students to visit the TLC Horse Farm. "The effect of Buttons on these children is amazing," she says.

Because of the happiness that he brings by visiting local nursing home residents and his effect on handicapped children all over north Texas, Buttons has been inducted into the Texas Animal Hall of Fame. Buttons is the first miniature horse ever and only the second horse in history to be inducted in the Hall of Fame.

Miniature horses have a 35-year average life span; outliving dogs by three times. Buttons has visited more than 75 nursing homes, and averages between 50 and 100 charity events per year.