Growing Together, Pet Therapy for Children

March 13, 2019
Find out all about a great new pet therapy project helping young children

Pet therapy is now very common and several different animals are increasingly being used for that purpose. For this reason, today we’d like to tell you about a new project called “Growing Together,” which trains dogs to assist abused children.

What is “Growing Together”?
A pet therapy dog assisting a hospitalized child.

Growing Together is a pioneering and innovative project that provides pet therapy to many children who were victims of abuse.

The project aims to eliminate the phobias and fears of abused children, and also the learning problems caused by their traumas.

For example, some children don’t even notice that their teacher changed the subject. Others get distracted when the bell rings between classes. Furthermore, some of them have serious motor problems.

Dogs increase the self-esteem of children. When they play with animals, they are able to forget about their problems just by improving their mood.

As if that wasn’t enough, animals also make children feel important and loved, something that many of them probably didn’t feel before.

Pet therapy: the role of animals

Even though dogs are the most-used animal in pet therapy, due to their versatility, ease of learning and desire to please, there are other animals that also participate in this project. Below, we’ll tell you more about them.

Our first example is Lulu, a dog that, in addition to providing love and affection to children, also teaches them valuable lessons. She tries to catch the ball every time they throw it in the air. She may not get the first one, but she doesn’t give up and continues trying, learning, strategizing and patiently waiting.

This is an excellent lesson for children about perseverance, observation, and the effort required to attain goals, and children will never forget it.

Chanel is another dog who participates in the project. Despite her advanced age, she continues to play games with the same enthusiasm she had when she was younger. Her example inspires children to overcome shyness and the fear of being different. This is the kind of lesson that anyone can enjoy at any time. In essence, and regardless of the circumstances that surround us, we can still find reasons to be happy.

Children with concentration or understanding problems learn to rely on their animal friends as a means of communication. Sometimes they even come out of their shell and are able to express themselves, as well as understanding other people better.

Pet therapy: other animals in the project
A goldfish in a bowl.

As we said at the beginning, dogs aren’t the only animals that participate in Growing Together. There are also fish and birds who play important roles within the organization.

Fish, for example, help the children attain balance and inner peace. When children feed the fish then it is used as a reward for their good work.

Birds also play an important role in Growing Together, because they’re set free, and this allows children to interrelate with them. The children feed the birds and this awakens the keen sense of observation that children naturally possess.

Obviously, this whole process is supervised and followed closely by specialists at all times. Without a doubt, the results are excellent so far, as getting to integrate happy children into society is highly rewarding to everyone involved.

The experiences and comments from the people whose children were in the program are a testament to the value of the Growing Together programs. For example, a woman called Maria says that her two granddaughters were far too shy, but now, thanks to the project, they’re a lot more sociable. In turn, they are also much better students.