"Doctor Peyo", the horse that can detect cancer

Marion, 24, who suffers from metastatic cancer, hugs her 7-year-old son Ethan in the presence of Peyo, who agrees to be touched and caressed only by her. “With Peyo, we try to recreate life at the end of life, to fight and create an energy and accompany families and caregivers,” says Hassen. Photo: Jérémy Lempin

The photographer, a finalist for the XXV Luis Valtueña International Humanitarian Photography Prize organized by Doctors of the World, shows the humanity of an animal that helps the sick in their last stretch of life.

Sometimes animals are able to understand us better than people. It is as if they could see us for who we really are, what we suffer, feel and suffer, without the need for words, stripping us of our outer facade. Sometimes animals heal and comfort.

That is the message that is extracted from the work of the photographer Jérémy Lempin, finalist of the XXV International Prize for Humanitarian Photography, Luis Valtueña, organized by Doctors of the World thanks to his series Doctor Peyo and Hassen. The award recognizes humanitarian photography that reveals social problems, such as injustices and rights abuses.

Peyo is a horse that cannot be caressed by anyone, it is not in his nature to be meek. He is a stallion who chooses who he wants to open up to, and when he does, he becomes a protective animal.

His trainer, Hassen Bouchakour, realized how special Peyo was and began to investigate the reasons for his changing behavior with emotionally, physically or psychologically vulnerable people.

Hassen sought advice from veterinary experts and medical specialists and, After four years of research and testing more than 500 horses, they concluded that Peyo’s brain activity is unique.

Peyo was born autistic and is able to instinctively detect cancers and tumors, a revelation before which Hassen decided to act and enter with his horse in the world of medicine to help others.

The horse pops its head out and addresses the patient it wants to visit. And it begins to lick the cancerous lesions.

Now, both work in the palliative care department of the hospital in Calais (France), where they have given him the affectionate nickname “Dr. Peyo”. This four-legged doctor chooses the rooms he wants to enter and the patients with whom he wants to establish a special bond.

Thanks to Peyo, many patients abandon the harsher medication and his presence comforts them, with psychological and physical results. Thanks to Doctor Peyo and Hassen, the end of their lives is something better.

After seeing the children in pediatrics on the first floor, Hassen and Peyo arrive at the adult palliative care center of the Calais hospital. Photo: Jérémy Lempin

The different legs of Peyo, Hassen and Robert, who has terminal cancer. “I, to some extent, am a collateral damage of this horse, I did not ask for this. It took me a while to accept it. It put an end to my successful career as an athlete, and as a showman. It was very difficult to stop being the master, and be forced to to admit that when {Peyo} detects someone, I am no longer in control. When he decides, I cannot hold him back, it is a necessity, it is visceral, it is in him, he needs to go and hold on to the specific person he has chosen, “he says Hassen. Photo: Jérémy Lempin

The “Doctor Peyo” stayed almost two hours in front of this door, without giving an iota, to protect a lady at the end of her life. “I accompany him, but I let him do whatever he wants, he is the one who decides. Peyo was diagnosed with autism, his intelligence, his faculties go beyond what one can imagine. What really pushed scientists to be interested in He already opened the doors of the health establishment to us, it was this ability to greatly reduce {the dose of patients} all hard drugs and thus allow a more peaceful departure, “says Hassen. Photo: Jérémy Lempin

The Calais hospital car park. Peyo and Hassen accompany Roger, 64, to the ambulance that will take him back home. “Dr. Peyo and Hassen are not people, they are angels,” says a patient’s son. Photo: Jérémy Lempin

(Taken from Restless Culture)

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