WHY DONKEY/HORSE THERAPY?
Discover how Donkey's & Horses become teachers and how we are developing the program.
OUR ANIMAL-ASSISTED LEARNING PROGRAM IS SPECIFICALLY FOR VULNERABLE WOMEN AND CHILDREN.
Donkeys have an innate emotional intelligence that can help to develop the social and emotional skill set of humans. The launch of our Animal Assisted Learning Program will allow our animals the freedom to work with our clients on the same level to develop an empathetic relationship, which is mutually beneficial for the client and animal, particularly the mini donkeys.
One of the key aims of this program is also to raise the status of the miniature donkey to be recognized as a sentient, intelligent being, with a huge capacity to teach us about ourselves.
DEVELOPING DONKEY-ASSISTED LEARNING
Initially, NRNR programs focused on women and children who had experienced trauma, with a particular focus on abuse, but since moving NRNR H.Q from the U.K to the U.S we recognize the therapeutic benefits of introducing Therapy Animals to our wellbeing programs to help women and children with a wide range of emotional and social needs. As a consequence, we are building our first Animal Assisted Care Farm, a safe place in nature for women who have experienced trauma, grief, or loss. This will help build on the solid foundation established over four years of delivering empowering, self-worth programs, focusing on developing key life skills such as self-esteem, managing emotions, and empathy.
BENEFITS TO DONKEYS AND HUMANS
How interaction between donkeys and humans can enrich the lives of both.
Our mini horse/donkey-assisted learning sessions are designed to help develop life skills, specifically self-esteem, empathy, and managing emotions in vulnerable women and children, helping them develop the emotional and social wellbeing skills to deal with challenging and stressful situations in the real world. Sessions with the donkeys also help develop adaptive and positive behavior and promote positive attitudinal changes towards the donkeys.
When a woman and child are able to get over their fear of interacting with an animal bigger than themselves, this helps to build their resilience. This experience can change neurology so that the next time they face a scary situation, they will know it’s possible to come out the other side of their fear. That confidence didn’t exist before - the experience with the donkey has rewired the brain so that they are more able to overcome their fears and approach difficult and challenging situations.
Donkeys have a unique presence, a zen-like grounded quality. We’re using their abilities as sentient facilitators and encouraging them to be an equal partner in the session.
CARON WHALEY, DIRECTOR OF DONKEY-ASSISTED THERAPY, THE DONKEY SANCTUARY, U.K.