Children to Greet & Touch the Trio for the 1st Time
Westchester, New York, October 2015 – They are smaller than llamas and softer than lambs. Now these native Peruvian cuties are make their debut to the children they will be helping as the newest addition to the expanding Animal-Assisted Therapy Program at ANDRUS. The Westchester nonprofit specializes in nurturing the social and emotional well-being of children and their families by delivering a broad range of vital services. The introduction of the three adorable alpacas to students of the ANDRUS Orchard School will take place on Wednesday, October 7th at 2:00 pm
Bryan Murphy, President & CEO of ANDRUS, who conceived of the alpaca addition after he and his wife watched a program about the remarkable animals several years ago, remarks, “The students are overjoyed to welcome and befriend the alpacas as the newcomers to our existing assortment of sheep, goats and chickens. Alpacas are remarkably outgoing and intelligent and will certainly form nurturing bonds with the children who live on our 107-acre campus and/or attend school here.”
He continues, “The alpacas are from Far Away Farms, located in Yorktown Heights, New York, and their staff could not have been more enthusiastic and helpful. We will be working closely with them as our program develops.”
Why Animal Therapy?
A plethora of research suggests there is great benefit using animals of any type in therapeutic environments. Incorporating animals into therapy can assist in decreasing aggression and negative self-image while increasing cooperative behavior, empathy and social relatedness. In the presence of animals, children and adolescents tend to talk more openly with therapists. Additionally, children on the autistic spectrum display more social relatedness. There are a number of theories on why this is the case including the fact that animals don’t talk and for some children in treatment, language can be a challenge. Also animals need basic care. This provides an easy way for children to develop self-esteem and a feeling of pride.
Beyond inspiring children with empathy towards all living things and nurturing emotional well being and hope, the alpacas will afford children learning opportunities about processing the alpaca wool, right on site!! Currently ANDRUS is home to beehive colonies where students and staff participate in making fresh honey. Allowing students to see how a raw product transforms into a final useable end product is a tremendous education tool that inspires pride since they were engaged from the start.