Animals are a wonderful catalyst for human social interactions. They provide comfort, acceptance and a non-judgmental presence. As such, they facilitate the building of trust and rapport in the therapeutic relationship between therapist and client, making it easier for clients to open up and talk about difficult issues.
Animals change the perception of therapy, making it fun and motivating clients to want to attend and participate.
Animals also help to reduce stress and anxiety in clients. Studies have shown that, interaction with a therapy dog result in a decrease in heart rate, blood pressure and the stress hormone cortisol, as well as an increase in social inducing hormone oxytocin.
Meet Kona, a Lab & Husky mix rescued from the south. Kona loves his other dog friends at Brookhaven; he especially loves getting his energy out with them. Kona attends therapy sessions and enjoys hanging out with all the kids and their families. He loves a good couch, chair, really any furniture to sit on and relax with a bone. Kona is learning how to be patient, kind, and considerate of others and he is doing a fantastic job. He puts many smiles on the faces of those lucky enough to spend time with him.
Kacey is a Lab mix rescue from right here in Vermont. She was our “first” gentle girl to come to Brookhaven & hang with our youth. With boundless energy and a patient nature, Kacey played, hiked, and attended our camp functions her first year on campus. She loves the endless cuddles, and attention and having other furry friends was a great big bonus for her. Kacey is excellent with humans & other animals and loves the opportunities and attention when she comes to work with Jessica.
Charlie is a lovable, fluffy pure-bred 8-month-old Golden Retriever! He was born two weeks before Christmas and was originally named Eggnog! He loves coming to Brookhaven to spend time playing catch, taking walks, splashing in the river and being brushed and cuddled by all the boys of Brookhaven. He has been working hard on his manners to ensure he will pass the Therapy Dogs of VT certification process. Charlie needs to be polite and gentle in all situations in order to pass his certification process. To help him succeed in all settings he recently began visiting the residents of Riverbend Residential home in Chelsea, VT. This is an assisted living and retirement home for elders. He has become very popular and we enjoy our weekly visits! Charlie is thrilled to be a fun loving, caring and furry member of the developing Animal Assisted Therapy team here at Brookhaven.
Ashley‚Äôs dog, Claus (pronounced like Klow-s), is the sniffer-extraordinaire. He is a German Shorthaired Pointer, and is a bundle of love and energy. When he‚Äôs not jumping for joy to see the students and staff around campus, he can usually be found in the lap of a willing human wanting to snuggle. Because Claus‚Äôs mom‚Äôs office is in the Learning Center, he is looking forward to reading with students, and making new friends at Brookhaven. He greatly enjoys his time with his furry friends, Finley, Charlie, and Kona, and Kacey.
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