You've heard of therapy dogs, but this farm has two therapy animals you don't see every day.
Semiahmoo Animal League (SALI) in British Colombia is home to a herd of happy, helpful farm animals, but their lives weren't always as carefree as they are now.
Each of the SALI farm animals came from a history of abandonment and neglect. They were all given up by previous owners due to illness, injury, or old age but found a family and a home at SALI.
Besides from being a safe haven for farm animals in need, SALI helps at-risk youths overcome emotional pitfalls and difficulties. The animals act as therapy animals, and two cows named Gracie and Peanut are the newest members of the herd.
Almost completely blind, Gracie was next in line at the slaughter house because her vision impairment made her "useless" to her previous owner. She was bullied by other cows and suffered repeated accidents and injuries.
Another outcast was a small calf named Peanut. Peanut was orphaned, but he was attracted to Gracie in a special way. The two formed a powerful bond, and SALI offered them both a new life.
It wasn't until after Gracie was settled into her new home that rescuers realized she was pregnant.
While SALI prepares for their first bovine birth, Gracie and Peanut interact with the kids in ways that helps them express themselves. The boys and girls are given the opportunity to talk about violence, neglect, abuse, and disabilities without it being all about their own problems. They talk about why someone would abandon Gracie because she's blind, and the ways Peanut's life is different because he lost his mother at a young age.
Everyone relates to the animals on a personal level, and helping out on the farm offers a feeling of accomplishment and usefulness.
Gracie and Peanut work as a team to teach their young friends how to accept themselves and develop relationships. And when Gracie's baby is born, there will be three therapy cows making a difference in young people's lives.
How wonderful is this story? These cows are just like service dogs! Not only are they emotional support animals for young children learning about mental health and pet therapy but they are wonderful examples of how livestock can also be therapy animals - it's not always dogs.
The human-animal bond is reflected as well in this post. What if Gracie and Peanut weren't brought to SALI? Thank goodness there are so many safe havens for farm animals now.
Folks might think what type of therapy could these two cows provide humans? Animal therapy can simply be a discussion with anyone that has a disability and was bullied as a result. Many children can relate better to animals that also have a vision impairment like Gracie. There could be an entire therapy program built around how every type of animal can serve as a therapy animal including cows, goats, and even chickens!
Anyone experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder can also benefit. It doesn't take a mental health professional to tell you all the health benefits of petting a cow, dog or a horse. They increase the well-being of everyone they come into contact with. I know my blood pressure lowers when I pet my own dogs and we all know what a difference they make in nursing homes and with Alzheimer patients. Service animals are amazing and every chance we get we will report a story like this to brighten your day!
What do you think about these therapy cows? Let us know in the comments.
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