Having an animal is costly and takes a lot of time and care; however the benefits are well worth it if you can afford it. This is why the animal visitation programs are so successful in children’s homes and hospitals, psychiatric wards, retirement homes and assisted care residences, schools and even prisons. If you cannot have an animal in the home, then these visitation programs really work and help improve self esteem, positive attitude, depression, stress, loneliness and a host of other problems. Animal visitation programs give the person something to look forward to. Riding improves circulation, balance, coordination, and generally improves health both mental and physical. There are many types of therapeutic riding, each suited to the person’s needs. Small animals can reduce blood pressure and stress just by stroking them. They get you going outside for exercise and become companions that understand your problems. AAT has been proven to be very successful in abused children and women, whether it is mental or physical abuse. You know that you can confide in them and they won’t betray you. Animals do not judge, they only react to the way you treat them and they don’t care about scars or imperfections, external or internal. Another group that benefits greatly from AAT are teenagers. Teenagers are going through a lot of changes in their hormones, peer pressure and taking on responsibilities. A dog or even a rabbit can help them through this process. Animals help to teach about hygiene, affection, trust, friendship, responsibility for another being. Disabled or ill people appreciate being able to care for another being instead of always being the one being cared for.
The hygiene, temperament and care of the animals is of utmost importance; also a doctor’s approval to be sure there are no allergies or other contraindications.
These are a series of photographs that show various types of AAT; you can see by the expressions on the faces the benefit the people are receiving. The ANIMO petting zoo was a great success. Since most of the wild, farm and domestic animals were raised by hand in our home, they were able to be turned out together in a walled area for the students to play with. It was a great experience for a blind school that came to ANIMO every year, from
; because they were able to hold and touch animals which are normally behind fencing and out of their reach. Germany