We train our goats to be confident, trusting and gentle. This is the perfect recipe for them to become 'Therapy Goats' that can visit Care Homes, Education Centres or even business premises and offices.
You have all heard of Therapy Dogs - we know the benefits are numerous and proven...but Therapy Goats? Well as a matter of fact - Yes. They are perfect.
Our Pygmy goats are dis-budded (so no horns - i think this is vital with Therapy Animals) and they also adore people.
Animal Therapy is broad ranging - from dogs, horses to spiders - they can all bring something that sparks the emotional needs of us mere humans. Animals have a unique way of bridging gaps and drawing an inner peace out of the person they interact with. The bond of trust that builds between animals and humans can be not only Therapeutic and in some cases, life changing. Animals are non-judgemental, forgiving, open-hearted and affectionate. The touch of an animal can bring both comfort and stimulation for many people. From those that have lost their ability to communicate effectively through speech, or don't wish to talk or only have non verbal communication - an animal can break those barriers in a moment, bring comfort and a surge in a positive emotional response.
Our Little goats are fairly unique - in that they have only known kindness and have never feared man. They are inquisitive and bold, but also incredibly gentle. Goats don't bite or kick, they actually enjoy the company of humans and our goats will seek it out at every opportunity - and not because they want a treat. This makes for the perfect combination to visit people in Care Homes.
Are they house trained? - No they are not! - but we have not had a goat wee in a home as yet and a little pellet poo can be swiftly swept up! The smell is infinitely more acceptable than dog wind!
Why We Visit
I grew up wanting a dog - At 12 years old I was allowed my own dog; on one proviso from my mother - that I would allow others to benefit from the gentle nature of my pet and freely give my time to others less fortunate.
I was duly dropped off at a local Care Home every Wednesday after school - where 'Grizzy' - my Border Terrier & I would potter around and chat to various elderly ladies and gentleman that had the misfortune to live in the miserable place that was their home for the remaining years of their lives. It was dismal - it smelt stale, was dark and gloomy, had no warmth or softness in its walls. The faces of those beautiful people lit up when Grizzy and I walked into the crowded rooms - with everyone seated in wipe clean chairs in a circle. My heart sank momentarily and selfishly - but then came alive again when I mustered up the courage to really talk to these incredible people. Their stories were often muddled and out of sync - but nevertheless - I wish I had written them down. I thought it was because all the time they were talking - Grizzy was either on their lap - or seated beside them.
Looking back - it was partly the dog and partly the fact that a 13 year old girl was listening.
It's not just about the animal at the side of the chair - it's the time you take to sit and stay. Most Care Homes these days are a far cry from what they were - but I am certain that there are still people sitting in different configurations - that would love a visit from a goat, a dog or a child. Adults are far too judgemental and patronising!
So Therapy Goat, Dog, Horse, Pig, Sheep or Rat... they all have a place and a part to play.
Lets hope that more people are allowed to take in gentle pets into the homes of the young & old.
2020 & 2021 has been even more difficult for these people - I worry about the effect it has had on them - staff wearing masks, some shut in their rooms in isolation, not allowed off the premises. We need to bring the little rays of light back into the eyes again - and I for one will be enlisting the help of my trustworthy and very amusing Little Goats - along with my very wonderful young sons.
Who says never work with children & animals?
I couldn't think of anything better!