By Josh LaBella
A Milford business is calling for young animal lovers to sign up for a new summer program they have will be starting in July. And it’s just the thing if you like our canine friends.
Animal Assisted Therapy Services, a non-profit which aims to “build the human/animal connection as a motivator for therapeutic and recreational purposes,” is launching a program for children between the ages of 11 and 14.
“The focus is learning more about the development, training, and role of a credentialed therapy dog,” said Christine Patella, a recreational therapy certified dog trainer from AaTs said in a press release. “Participants have the opportunity to work directly with our AaTs credentialed therapy dogs at our center in Milford.”
The cost of the program is $250 a session. The program, which is on Oxford street in Milford, will be from 9:30 to 2:30 on July 8-11 and 15-18. AaTs works with children and adults with physical, cognitive, and emotional disabilities.
Some of the goals of the programs, according to the press release, are to foster love and care for their animals, introduce children to volunteer and career opportunities that involve animals and to promote social interactions between fellow peers who share common interests. Patella said it would be a hands on experience.
“Participants will be engaged in practicing basic training skills, agility play, grooming, dental care, and a myriad of other activities designed to increase bonding with the dogs and fellow peers,” said Patella.
Director Beth Patella holds a master’s degree in recreational therapy. Patella specializes in Animal Assisted Interventions as part of her therapeutic practice. She is also a certified sound therapist and often incorporates this musical intervention with her clients and groups. The non-profit said their emphasis is on the connection between nature, animals, farms, food, and a healthy style of living.
“We even tend our own garden at the Center and prepare delicious, healthy food for both dogs and people in our kitchen,” the trainer said.
According to Patella, at the conclusion of the session participants take the dogs on a therapy visit to an assisted living facility in the community under the supervision of AaTs trainers and therapists.
“They will discover first-hand the unconditional love, joy, and healing the animals bring to residents and patients,” said Patella.