City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More

Featured Article

Meet a True Star

Dolly Star, a Micro Mini White Park Heifer, Provides Cow Therapy for People With Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia, and Other Conditions

When Karin Boyle’s father was recovering from a serious health condition, his physicians suggested that he take part in activities that he enjoyed when he was healthy.

Boyle, who grew up on a dairy farm in Chandler, figured that her dad would respond well to the animals he spent a great deal of time with over the years.

“I came up with the idea of cow therapy,” Boyle says, adding that while she knew that a regular-size cow probably would be challenging to travel with, a new breed called the micro mini white park heifer would be the perfect size.

In late August 2021, Dolly Star came to live with Boyle in Chandler. She began bringing the adorable young heifer to visit her dad, and was delighted to see the positive effect Dolly Star had on her father.

“Dolly Star worked really well, and my dad is now back home. I figured I might as well keep everything going, so I founded the Dolly Star Foundation and we started visiting memory care facilities in October,” Boyle says, adding that she named Dolly Star in part after Dolly Parton.

“Her middle name, Star, is because I just knew that she would be super successful at what she was doing and would be a star,” she explains.

Boyle says that Dolly Star not only sparks joy in everyone she meets, but she also helps older people with memory issues recall experiences having to do with agriculture.

“Most people who are between 60 and 100 years old didn’t grow up with technology, but they do have core memories of some kind that bring them back to agriculture, whether that is growing up on a farm or getting fresh milk delivered to their homes,” she says. “When Dolly Star is with them, the stories will come out like you wouldn’t believe.”

When Dolly Star is not providing cow therapy to people, she spends her time living in Boyle’s backyard or hanging out with her dad at his home.

Boyle’s five-year plan involves finding a barn where Dolly Star can live, and have people come to her for bovine therapy sessions. For now, Boyle will continue taking her to memory care facilities, adult living communities, and other locations.

“When I walk in with a mini cow, everyone is in awe and just giggles and laughs. Dolly Star will lay on the ground and chew her cud and relax, which makes everyone around her relax,” Boyle says.