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6657 Kimesville Road | Liberty, NC | 27298 | (336) 565-9723

Why Animals in Therapy?

Why are animals used in therapy? Why not just stick to the normal therapy visit at a doctor's office or a rehab center? Why are animals an incredibly effective means of therapy--physically, emotionally, and psychologically? Many people have asked these questions. The best answer...just watch it in action.

 

Animals in therapy...because it is a matter of unconditional love and acceptance; animals give unconditionally without asking for anything in return. It is the natural movement of the horse and rider in rhythm and harmony as they interact. It is the thrill for a six-year-old boy with cerebral palsy who struggles with his crutches as he mounts his best friend, Mo--the big red horse who will serve as Jacob's four good legs for an hour a week. It is Jacob's new sense of independence, skill, and empowerment--control of an animal many times his size. It is learning to groom and handle his horse under Deborah's watchful eye and guidance. It is the smile on his face as he grabs a ring to place on Mo's ear as part of his therapy--stretching and reaching with his tight palsied muscles. It is his delight and satisfaction as he reaches new goals while he is having fun in the fresh air out in the country.

 

It is twin boys with Down Syndrome cantering around the ring on their horses (a high level of achievement for any rider). It is the blue (or red or yellow or white) ribbons at Special Olympics. It is the exclaims of pure delight in a little boy's voice as he commands his horse during day camp, learning how to work with one of the more difficult horses, a feat that gives him something to revel in, despite his struggles with schoolwork. It is the giggles and smiles of a little girl with autism and cerebral palsy who has formed an inseparable bond with the horse that picked her out to be his rider. It is the grin on a quadriplegic's face as he stands tall in the saddle with his helpers standing by applauding, and slowly, with effort, speaks the words, "I appreciate you all a lot." It is the joy it gives to children who have been the victims of abuse, difficulty, and sadness as they find purpose again in caring for and loving their animal friends. It is an elderly nursing home resident's, "You made my day!", as they pet the dogs and cats that snuggle on their beds.

 

Animals do not judge. They do not withhold love because of abilities or behavior. They are available no matter what, and intuitively understand what is needed and give it without hesitation. They have built-in confidentiality that encourages the expression of open, honest feelings, or no expression at all (animals don't make you talk when you don't want to). Animals speak with their hearts a language that is understood by the heart.

 

You only have to get a small glimpse of animals working in therapy to realize the potential they have and the miracles they play a part in! We at Kopper Top believe in animal-assisted therapy. And as our animal crew strives to help everyone become they best they can-- despite the struggles, difficulties, and limitations they may face in life-- we watch our motto become a living reality..."When Spirits Run Free...There Are No Limitations!"

Animals are reliable, many full of love, true in their affections, predictable in their actions, grateful and loyal. Difficult standards for people to live up to.

~~Alfred A. Montapert