Meet Our Animals
What Is Animal-Assisted Therapy?
Animal-assisted therapy incorporates hands on and sensory approaches in tandem with traditional therapeutic practices. It can include simply interacting with a reassuring animal, animal care as an intervention, training and animal-specific exercises, observation and metaphor, and more.
Why Animal-Assisted Therapy?
Animal assisted therapy has been shown to lower stress during sessions, increase positive attitudes toward and experiences of therapy, enhance learning and positive self-regard, and provides a safe and reassuring bond with both the animal and therapist.
Many individuals struggle with traditional methods of talk and process-based therapy. For these individuals, animal-assisted therapy provides a safe, enjoyable, and research-based alternative.
Canine Companions For Independence
Canine Companions for Independence was founded in 1975. It is a non-profit organization that provides animal assistance to those with disabilities. The animals they breed, raise, and train aren’t just a tool to their human partners. They’re also companions, goodwill ambassadors, and often their best friends. Canine Companions’ highly specialized dogs open up new opportunities, possibilities, and spread incredible joy.
We are so grateful to Canine Companions for donating two amazing Facility Dogs to our nonprofit. Flower and Galaxy are instrumental in the work of Animals 4 Healing, as well as touchstones in the lives of our clients.
Facility dogs are highly skilled and trained dogs which partner with a facilitator in a health care (or similar) setting. Canine Companions has trained both of Animals 4 Healing’s facility dogs, Galaxy and Flower. Due to their rigorous training, these specialized canines are trustworthy, gentle, loving, and able to help motivate and inspire clients in therapy.
Flower IV - Labrador/Golden Retriever
Flower is Animal’s 4 Healing’s first facility dog donated by Canine Companions. She is famous for cuddling, kindness, her calm demeanor, happy nature, and ability to provide companionship and aid. She loves dress-up and playing fetch.
Flower has 4 1/2 years of experience as a service dog. In those years, she has helped hundreds of clients reach their treatment goals. She has extensive experience working with clients dealing with anxiety and depressive disorders, as well as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Flower is trained in over 40 commands to help our clients engage and focus in therapy without increasing stress. She loves her work, dressing up, fetch, learning new things, and is always excited to meet new friends.
Galaxy VII - Labrador/Golden Retriever
Galaxy was donated to Animals 4 Healing by Canine Companions in 2021. She’s focused, gentle, friendly, and loves praise and affection. She love being near people, whether on their lap or cuddling at their feet. She also loves exploring and nice long walks.
Galaxy is intuitive and easy to interact with. She’s excellent at helping children, adolescents, and adults feel comfortable in therapy.
Galaxy is trained knows over 40 commands, just like her best friend Flower. She loves to spend time with humans, and enjoys playing chase with Flower when not at work.
Steve - Quarter Horse Gelding
Steve was donated to Animals 4 Healing in 2021. He is 15 hands (roughly 5 feet tall at the withers) and 21 years old.
Before joining our Animals 4 Healing family, Steve was a children’s lesson horse. He is patient, forgiving, and gentle. He’s the perfect horse for those new to equine therapy and horses in general.
Due to his age, Steve primarily offers groundwork and interactive therapy to our clients.
Doc Lightening - Quarter Horse Gelding
Lightening is owned by one of our board members, John Shephard. He is roughly 15 hands and expertly trained in reigning and ground work.
Lightening is a calm and well trained gelding, making him an ideal partner for learning basic horsemanship skills, and a wide variety of therapeutic activities.
We incorporate Lightening in groundwork and interactive therapy sessions, including ponying and riding activities.
Annie - Quarter Horse Mare
Annie is owned by one of our board members, John Shephard. She is roughly 15 hands and schooled in Western Pleasure.
Annie is intuitive and wise, providing opportunities to truly develop competence in forming relationships with horses, and beyond. We find she is excellent at therapeutic work especially for those struggling with trauma.
We incorporate Annie in groundwork and interactive therapy sessions
StarBright - Quarter Horse Gelding
StarBright is owned by one of our board members, John Shephard. He is roughly 14 hands and schooled in Western Pleasure.
StarBright is a young and energetic horse, making him fun and a joy to work with. He is friendly and outgoing, always interested in meeting someone new. is
We incorporate StarBright in groundwork and interactive therapy sessions and hope to offer threapeutic riding with StarBright in the future.