Amazing Animals

I have always known that animals can have a huge impact on people.  I think we sometimes forget that there is more to animals than developing skills to care for them.  They help us in so many ways.

You have, no doubt heard about the idea of pets for therapy. Whether dogs, cats, horses, or other animals, pets can be beneficial to our health both via animal-assisted therapy schemes and also though simply sharing a life with a companion animal.

Having worked with students with disabilities for some years, I have witnessed the benefits of Autism Assistance Dogs on several of my students in the past.

The impact each dog makes on the life of their recipient is priceless, giving recipients a greater level of independence, self-esteem and an overall improvement in psychological well-being and quality of life.

When we decided to get a pet for our Unit, it was based on the benefits I expected for our students based on developing skills and understanding:

• Students with no exposure to animals at  home have the opportunity to see, feel, touch their class pet.

• Observing and caring for an animal develops a sense of responsibility and respect for life

.• Kids learn that all living things need more than just food and water for survival.

• A pet brings increased sensitivity and awareness of the feelings and needs of others—both animals and humans.

• Students will see directly how their behaviour and actions affect others.

When our new rabbit “Cookie” arrived, I anticipated excitement and initial desperation to touch and hold.  Despite my understanding of the powers of animals upon the emotional I still hadn’t  truly considered was how she could have such a soothing and calming affect on many of our students.

I am excited to see how their relationships with her develop and if having her will have a lasting affect on the wellbeing of our students.

Cookie getting cuddles

Cookie getting cuddles

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