ASHEVILLE, North Carolina (WLOS) — Officials at Eliada said connecting with animals is often more effective than traditional therapies. The agency has goats, pot bellied pigs and even a llama that help kids deal with emotional and behavioral issues. Students said developing a relationship with those animals can be healing.
“They reflect on your emotions. So, if you’re feeling upset, then they’ll feel upset. If you’re feeling calm, then they’re feeling calm. And it’s just really nice to kind of have that little relationship with them,” Eliada student Lily said.
“You kind of experience, like, that the trauma-related response, you know, them being shy and skittish. But when you get to connect with them, it makes you feel really accomplished,” Eliada student Finley said.
“The kids help with feeding, grooming, cleaning. Most of them are perfectly happy and willing to scoop poop and clean a horse stall, and it’s a lot more fun than cleaning their bedrooms,” Eliada task coordinator Carrie Melear said.
“I think it teaches them how to care for something and a lot of that. It can be really healing,” Eliada clinical director Kristin Kimmel said.
The program is officially called the Equine Assisted Therapy program, although there’s more animals than just horses.
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