Researchers are finding that pets truly have the power to heal their owners, especially the elderly. Pets remove the loneliness, grief, pain and fear in many people. In recent years, the experts have been relying on pet therapy as a valuable aid in reaching out to the elderly, the infirm, and to ill or abused children through-out the country.
Therapy animals go to convalescent homes, hospitals, day care centers, juvenile halls, and prisons. Right now you're picturing dogs and the occasional cat right? Well why not pigs? True, they shed hair just like cats and dogs but can be bathed and groomed....just like cats and dogs. The pig is the perfect therapy pet. Small enough for the average lap, does not perform for treats, may not necessarily shake paws but will purr right up there with the best kitties among them. Oh....and they NEVER have bad breath!
Our 'therapy pigs' have to meet certain criteria before they can qualify. Personality is a plus, as well as good health and temperament. They need to remain calm around loud noises and not object to a multitude of hands coming in all directions towards them. We enjoy our visits with a variety of school age children where we cover many topics relating to animal/human experiences. We tackle reading skills, bullying, fear, intimidation, sharing, confidence building skills etc. We even have a pig with poor eye sight for those children in a similar situation. Children can often relate to animals without feeling embarrassed or overwhelmed. Reading out loud is often intimidating for some children who struggle with this academic criteria. Reading out loud to a pig during our 'Rescue Readers Program' is one way to improve vocabulary strength and confidence.
Rescue Readers reaches out to children who need a little extra confidence with their reading ability. This reverse psychology technique allows the children to think they are assisting a pet, in need when they are actually building on their own personal goal.
Tucking a guinea pig in to bed with a little blanket and reading a bedtime story allows children to take on a more 'grown up nurturing' role. It also allows that child to strengthen their ability in a fun relaxing way. Twenty minutes of reading for each session has proven to be effective in a child's academic level in a short period of time.
The pigs and I get to meet many people during our visits, sharing stories and laughter and always ending on the promise of 'come back soon'. What a better way to live than to sit idle in a cage all day?
Contact us if you are interested in adding your classroom to our Rescue Readers programs. You need to live in the Hampton/Newport News/Yorktown area to qualify and of course, we are completely free, unless you have a few sticks of lettuce handy!
Thank you to the following for their on-going invitations - we love our visits with you and greatly appreciate your support!
A huge thank you to all the teachers and children from Pre-school to Kindergarten at the Isle of Wight Academy for another wonderful visit. We had a fantastic time visiting with you, especially old friends. Theo, Jack, Honey, Willow, Posey Possum and Suzie Skunk had so much fun playing with you that they all fell asleep on the way home. We wish you a wonderful Summer and hope to see you all again soon.
Isle of Wight Academy - Education visit.
Barnes & Noble Book Store, Newport News, VA - Story time!
Heritage Humane Society, Williamsburg, VA - Spring & Summer Camp visits.
Sunrise House, Hampton - Adult Day Care facility.
Gloria Dei Lutheran School, Hampton, VA - Educational visits and story time.
Phillips Elementary School, Hampton, VA - Educational visits and story time.
Francis Asbury School, Hampton, VA - Educational visits and story time.
Resurrection Lutheran Church & School - Educational visits & story time.
Northampton Public Library, Hampton - Education visits and story time.
Foxhill Public Library, Hampton - Story time.
Liberty Baptist Church Library Group, Hampton - Educational visit and story time.
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