Studies reveal that interactions with animals increase endorphins, promoting relaxation, reducing pain and creating relief and joy.
Camp Simcha’s animal assisted therapy service, which launched early in 2016 is now helping many of our children each week.
Utilising a variety of animals including horses and small pets, we have also recruited 11 dogs and owners who have been specially trained to visit families supported by Camp Simcha. The feedback has been fantastic.
Camp Simcha Family Liaison Officer Mandy Isaacs, who is co-ordinating the new service says: ‘It’s not only the ill person who reaps the benefits. Family members and friends who sit in on animal visits say they feel better, too. Animals also can be taught to reinforce rehabilitative behaviours in patients, such as throwing a ball or walking.’ Families who feel they could benefit from this will have weekly visits from the dogs and their owners.
White Bichon Frise Molly has now become a weekly visitor to eight-year-old Nix, who has Dystonic Quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy with blindness and regular seizures as well as other complications. Nix’s sister Adi also has a less severe form of Spastic Dystonic Quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy.
‘The girls love Molly. She is very sweet and Adi likes to get her to do tricks. Nix cannot see but she likes the feel of Molly, even though she is not usually tactile.
‘The visits are lovely because they are just gentle fun. Both girls get very tired and Nix has lots of seizures after school so we cannot really go out and do activities. Having Molly come to us is lovely and not too much for the girls.’ says Mum Karen