CALM launched a Pet Therapy pilot program this past year. It was not only successful, but yielded some surprising results.
Brenda Murrow, one of our interns who created our Pet Therapy curriculum told us the following story. “One surprise that came out of Pet Therapy is that it enabled our therapists to address issues that would have been difficult to raise without the animal. For example, one little girl continually asked about grooming Maddie, the dog. Every day she would ask, ” How do you brush Maddie’s hair? Do you brush Maddie’s teeth?” The therapist suspected that the girl was not getting adequate care at home, but was hesitant to ask the mom for fear of making mom feel defensive. The girl’s questions about the dog, however, enabled our therapist to initiate a natural, non-threatening conversation with Mom. It turned out that an older sibling was responsible for caring for our little client in the mornings while Mom was at work, but was not doing her job. Maddie enabled therapist and Mom to do some problem solving and address the grooming issue without blame.”
Brenda is now working on writing her dissertation and is analyzing all of her work with Pet Therapy. We look forward to sharing more stories with you.