“I want to thank you all for the therapy dog visit the other day. It was amazing how they really helped in our memory care with a particular resident who was “sundowning” before you arrived. Once the dogs came in, she was redirected, calmed down, and became less upset and anxious! Many other residents who live here really enjoyed the time you spent with them as well. Thank you so much!”
Janet Urgo, Director of Memory Care, Colebrook Village
We have seen great benefits in our son after participating in the horse day program. He has learned that horses’ emotions feed off of the people around them, so he has to remain calm and use his ‘indoor’ voice. Working with and learning more about horses provides him the opportunity to focus, listen, and develop more self-regulation. This awareness of horses’ feelings has helped him establish better relationships with other animals, too!
I am a retired US Air Force Master Sergeant I spent years flying all over the world including combat locations. Upon retirement I have dealt with a lot of issues in readjusting to civilian life. I have past experience with farm work and horses and a love for animals. I was always interested in working with horses for therapy but never had the opportunity due to being so far from those farms that offered it. Then came New England Human Animal Bond Foundation, Hidden Haven Farm in Columbia, CT, and their generous offer for veterans to do equine and dog therapy on the farm. Since beginning I have connected with horses in a way that is hard to explain but I’ll try in short words, the calmness they make you feel, bringing a sense of joy and love back into life, just being around such beautiful animals that I believe can really sense how you are feeling. I look forward to seeing all the horses every week it’s a highlight of my week most of the time, a time where I can go and relax and just be with such great animals. I have been able to learn to control my level of emotion to not upset the horses, I’ve been able to do different forms of therapy including wave therapy to help my body heal, every week is different with different possibilities that also allow me to be able to do what I am capable in that specific day. It’s such an amazing feeling of care, helping brush a horse down to groom them or to braid their mane. The flexibility of the program is done on a level of compassion and understanding conforming to what I am able to do. I guess some people may ask why do I keep going, at this point I feel there is more to do, more work on myself, there is more to give back to other veterans that may come and help them experience what I do, there were things to build on and repair a way of returning what NEHAB has done for me. I look forward to being involved with such caring people that are so willing to give so much of their time, animals, and effort. NEHAB has also lead me to being ready to accept a service dog and helped me during the process. I look forward to more service dog training and equine therapy involving more veterans.
~Jerry, Retired US Air Force Master Sergeant