Helping those suffering from trauma, disability or adversity

By Animal Therapies Ltd

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Your donation will help to build Australia's most comprehensive online register of animal-assisted interventions, practitioners and assistance animal trainers so those in need can get help for their location and condition.

Hello, my name is Wendy and I am the founder of Animal Therapies Ltd. I am often asked why I started an organisation dedicated to advancing the understanding, acceptance and accessibility of animal-assisted interventions for those suffering trauma, disability or adversity.

Well, this is my journey...

Throughout my professional career, I have held many high-profile, high pressure, senior corporate roles. Nothing ever really phased me, I had the resilience of an ox, the mental and emotional fortitude of a lion.

That is until my life changed forever ...

One morning in late 2014, I woke up and went to work like any other day but that afternoon I had no recollection of how I got home. The days, months and years that followed were a rollercoaster of severe anxiety and depression.

I lost my professional life which was intrinsically linked to my identity. My pride & privacy were torn to shreds through endless appointments. When the anxiety set in, I was rarely able to hold a conversation without stuttering.

In 2017, with my doctors endorsement, my dog Jack and I were accepted into an Assistance Dog program. I was shown how to use Jack to change my world for the better. My world went from grey to colour.

It took me years of research to understand how I could formally incorporate an assistance animal into my recovery. It shouldn’t have been that hard. This needed to change.

"If something positive can be born out of adversity then that's got to be a good thing.”

On 21 February 2018, Animal Therapies Ltd was incorporated and is registered as a Health Promotion Charity with the ACNC.

Your donation will mean those in need will more easily be able to find help for their condition and location.

The Challenge

The wide-reaching therapeutic benefits of animal-assisted interventions and assistance animals are now well documented, but my personal experience identified some major gaps in the sector within Australia.

Until now, there has been no national organisation advancing health, through animal-assisted interventions (AAI) and assistance animals (AA) as a whole. Nor was there a comprehensive central portal of information helping people locate a local service provider who incorporates animals into their practice.

Here’s what we’re doing about it

We are currently delivering education and public awareness campaigns on how AAI & AAs can help to prevent and control mental illness, disease, disability and suffering.

We need to raise funds to build, deploy and promote to the public a national register of , AA trainers and AAI programs and practitioners so people know where they can get the help they need and be reassured that they are accessing service providers that meet professional standards. The targets for fund raising have been broken into the costs for each stage of our project.

Animal-Assisted Interventions is defined as an intervention that incorporates an animal as part of a process and includes:

Animal Assisted Therapy which incorporates an animal and an allied health professional as part of a specific therapeutic plan seeking to prevent or control mental illness, disease or human suffering e.g. PTSD, ASD, stroke recovery, rehabilitation and other conditions.

Animal-Assisted Activities involves animals and their handlers visiting people in hospitals, aged care facilities, schools, dementia units, universities, hospices and other institutions to alleviate stress, depression and to provide relief for peoples suffering.

Animal-Assisted Learning incorporates animals and a facilitator in an ‘experiential’ learning environment to assist an individual or group learn strategies & develop skills to help them in their personal or professional life. e.g. overcoming the effects of bullying, stress management, managing emotions, learning to communicate or other predetermined learning goals.

Assistance Animals (often dogs “AD”) are trained to perform one or more tasks to help their handler better access public life and manage their condition such as physical impairment, diabetes, eye disease, hearing and vision impairment, seizures, asthma, life threatening allergies, people who experience episodic and serious medical crises (e.g. epilepsy, changes in blood pressure or blood sugar); and people with psychosocial conditions such as PTSD, anxiety, panic attacks, suicidal ideation and other psychological conditions.

Assistance animals have a legal right to access public places and are not to be patted or distracted as they are working animals. They support people in accessing various aspects of personal and public life. They can be trained in tasks to alert their handler of an oncoming medical episode or to assist with everyday tasks. An assistance animal must meet standards of hygiene and behaviour that are appropriate for an animal in a public place. Please do not ask the handler of an assistance animal about their condition.

You can join us

Please support our fund-raising efforts by donating and sharing this page with others who can help.

Even better, become an Animal Therapies Ltd fund-raiser and help us to find the support we need.

Sponsors are welcome. Email: [email protected]

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Team Members

Wendy Coombe

Brian Zanker

Candy Gibson

Deborah Jones

Lisa Sweeney

Ric Lamont

Wendy Coombe