All of our programs are supervised by a professional zootherapist. The intention of the zootherapist is to exert a beneficial influence on the health and quality of life for the patients; in turn, the animal is used to facilitate and maintain a relationship with the clients using charisma and affection.
Our senior program uses volunteers who receive training to develop their skills to observe, listen, and understand the difficulties of others and to provide support. Pets are examined by a veterinarian to ensure they have excellent health and the Centre de zoothérapie communautaire assesses their behavior to ensure their ability to interact with clients.
The elderly whether living alone, at home or in an institution, often experience important losses: a spouse, a family member, or loss of their autonomy, etc. Animals are often the link that permit the aging person to reconnect with their past, to relive the good times and perhaps enjoy the last stages of their life.
Bringing joy and breaking isolation are the main objectives of the Ani-coeur program. The volunteer develops a relationship of trust with an elderly person who receives love and attention from a small pet. Something as simple as throwing a ball, giving food, talking or petting an animal awakens the sense of being more useful and provides individuals with the incentive to express their feelings which can help them recover some motor skills. The presence of an animal brings calmness, reassurance, confidence and self-esteem to the elderly. Through these weekly visits, smiles reappear along with an openness to others and then we finally see a little more happiness in the eyes of elders.
An animal is an excellent tool for intervention with children. Even if it seems simple, contact with animals is a source of constant wonder. Children are more attentive, better able to concentrate on tasks. The animal becomes the link to learning and children feel their own self-esteem increase, which is quickly noticeable to others.
Reducing Fear of Animals
Children learn to be more comfortable with animals in order to reduce their fear. This approach is done gradually, carefully and at each child's pace.
Before participating in any activity with a dog, children need to understand the body language of the animal. With this program, young people learn to recognize the non-verbal body language of a dog in order to approach it without danger and to accompany the animal safely.
Young children learn to communicate with a dog by giving him commands. Dogs are trained to respond to familiar instructions enabling children to have a successful experience. The children's self-assertiveness and self-esteem are strengthened. A look of pride suddenly illuminates their face!
Through interactions with the dog, children are motivated to be more physically active as opposed to remaining idle for hours in front of a computer screen. Agility games involving collaboration with and respect for the animal allow children to develop physical abilities, to hone their concentration and communication skills, combined with a feeling of success which heightens their self-esteem. Physical activity becomes associated with a feeling of mutual complicity, pleasure and well-being.
In a context of assisted reading, the animal helps foster a positive attitude towards this activity and, with time, increases the child's competency with better fluidity and understanding. The animal offers a receptive approach, does not judge and brings a comforting atmosphere to the reading process. With no reaction from the animal to stuttering or hesitations, the child feels more confident and less stressed. This activity done with an animal associates reading with pleasure and reduces the negativity some children feel towards reading.
An animal is a great help for teens. Communication with an animal allows teenagers with difficulties to restore a social-emotional contact with a world they sometimes feel excluded from. Animals create an environment of trust which allows young people to express their emotions, to open up and take their own place.
This program invites teens to participate in activities with large dogs. Through
interaction with the dog, the teenager establishes a more positive relationship
with the world and develops a mutual emotional complicity with the animal, bringing
them more in touch with their emotions. Well-trained dogs assure that
teens can live more positive experiences and thereby open up to more to their
environment and surroundings.
Hoping to promote various professions connected to domestic animals, we developed the Pro-Zoo program which offers teenagers some activities to help them understand the body language of certain animals and to be better informed concerning the many jobs available in the domestic animal domain. During the program, young people are invited to participate in a cooperative exercise that addresses their aptitude for teamwork and their openness to others. Our aim: self-realization and integration into society. At the end of the course, each participant receives a training certificate.
Because of their differences, individuals with physical, social or mental disability will often have problems with communication and social integration. An animal permits a sincere and spontaneous occasion to learn relational skills in a way that is both positive and gratifying.
Holding, petting or feeding a small animal constitutes a few occasions of contact with the world. With a variety of pets: dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, etc.., this program offers activities to people with deficiencies in order to stimulate their communication skills with pleasure and confidence.