Picture this: You’re lying in a hospital bed following a particularly brutal round of chemotherapy. You close your eyes to try and get some shut-eye, but open them almost immediately: What is that noise? A faint, clip-clopping sound draws closer and closer, until suddenly, you see the silhouette of a horse in your doorway. The future John Mulaney spoke of has come to pass — there’s a horse in the hospital, and it’s chosen to visit you.

According to a 2021 feature in The Guardian, Peyo, the 17-year-old horse, has been visiting patients since 2016, and his trainer, Hassen Bouchakour, has said that since then, they’ve “supported around 1,000 people until their last breath in the various services in which we operate,” adding, “Peyo is my other half, he is my life partner, he is everything to me.”

@ilovehorseedits Peyo✨#pferdesport#foryou ♬ Einaudi: Experience - Ludovico Einaudi & Daniel Hope & I Virtuosi Italiani

Nicknamed “Doctor Peyo” by the medical team at Calais Hospital in France, people believe that Peyo is able to detect when humans have cancers and tumors, and he chooses which patients to visit by stopping outside their rooms or raising his leg. Bouchakour began to suspect Peyo was special when, after performing in equestrian shows, Peyo would pick people out of the crowd and stand next to them. This led Bouchakour to believe that Peyo was choosing people who were weakened “morally, physically or psychologically.”

Continuing to maintain his commitment to providing comfort to those who need it, Peyo started visiting patients in hospital and palliative care. As Bouchakour told The Guardian, “What really pushed scientists to take an interest in him and open the health establishment doors to us, was this (seeming) ability to greatly reduce (the patients’ dosage of) all hard drugs and thus allow a more peaceful departure.”


♬ Oceans (Hillsong United Remix) - FOA Rockout

His ability to sense when someone is sick has led people to compare Peyo to the Grim Reaper — i.e., if you see Peyo at your door, you must not be long for this world. But really, the story is far more wholesome than that. He can tell when someone needs comfort, and he’s all-too-willing to be the one who provides it — in the form of a strong and stoic 1,200-pound equine looming over you in your hospital bed.