Customers’ tails of discovery … thanks to new four-legged friends

By Staff Writers, 16 July 2020 , Comments

Thanks to Support Worker Stephanie Dickie, a member of our Griffith Disability Housing services team, Northcott customers Janelle and Amy have made some new friends – miniature horses Santos and Beau.

Stephanie owns horses and has trained them as pet therapy animals.

“I wanted to get Janelle and Amy involved with something positive,” she explained. “I knew both girls loved horses but were frightened and unsure to go near big horses. When they saw Santos and Beau, they really wanted to pat them, which in turn made them talk to each other and staff.

“Janelle finds it difficult to interact with Amy in the house and knowing both girls love horses, I started the pet therapy program to try to get positive results. Amy’s mother is delighted to see her daughter involved in pet therapy, and is very impressed with what her daughter has accomplished and learnt whilst being around the horses.”

Janelle and Amy interact when visiting the horses; this provides them with exercise, common conversation and new skills. They have learnt many things during their pet therapy sessions, including how important safety is around horses. They happily brush them, feed them and take them for walks.

For days when Stephanie is unable to take the ladies out for pet therapy, she has created a slideshow which they enjoy watching. They are keen to see themselves with the horses on TV and it helps them interact with staff – and each other.

“It is a beautiful thing to watch Janelle, Amy and these special little horses interact with each other,” Stephanie said.

Other staff have also noticed that Janelle and Amy are starting to converse with each other – not only about horses, but about added common interests – and believe the pet therapy has improved their speech as well.

Related content

Northcott Support Workers partner with customers to achieve a wide variety of goals. Check out Chilli Joe’s and James’s story.

Looking for a new place to call home? Take a closer look at the Northcott Disability Housing Vacancies page.

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