Meet My Animal Co-Therapists Chloe & DaVinci!
“I’m DaVinci, a Bernese Mountain Dog. I’m eight and love working with kids and teens. I’ve been Robyn’s co-therapist for five years. Her clients are the best. They give me lots of love and even scratch my tummy! I always look forward to meeting a new friend and can’t wait to give them kisses.”
“I’m Chloe, another Bernese Mountain Dog. I’m six and just like DaVinici I love to work as Robyn’s co-therapist. We’ve been seeing children for two years now. Snuggling is my favorite, sometimes I forget how big I am and try to sit in my new friend’s lap. I also love when I get my silky fur brushed. It feels so good!”
Animal Assisted Therapy
As an AAT trained handler, I use my certified dogs, DaVinci and Chloe, during sessions to demonstrate the power animals have in promoting physical, social, emotional, and cognitive functioning. Dogs offer unconditional love, acceptance, and forgiveness regardless of mood and help create a sense of comfort for clients.
Animal Assisted Therapy can help ease anxiety in children and adolescences during a session as well as establish rapport and build self-esteem. The games and structure around how DaVinci and Chloe are used in a session also teach healthy boundaries, daily living skills, self-regulation, patience, and communication. Dogs create a state of calmness that allows people to share their thoughts and emotions without feeling judged.
How dogs are utilized in a therapy session:
➩ Appropriate touch is taught through grooming & petting.
➩ Self-regulation of emotions is learned by playing a game with the dog.
➩ Pretend play (utilizing the dog as a figure in their story).
➩ Positive communication is modeled through the dog’s movement (tail wagging, yawning, body shifting, and licks) and then associated with positive human communication.
➩ Self-acceptance is created through the child noticing differences in the dog compared to other dogs, then connecting those differences to differences in people (color, size, voice, personality and ailments).
➩ Self- esteem and confidence are built by the child teaching the dog tricks as well as reading to the dog.