Solace

A Center for Animal-Assisted Therapy and Research

by Carey Bollinger Danielson | Feb 17, 2013
| 1 Comment

Summary:

I would create a center for animal-assisted therapy and other alternative therapies. This center would do several things. It would house animals and trained therapists during business hours, who would together work with children and adults with many different kinds of needs and from many diverse backgrounds; it would coordinate human and animal volunteers who visit other locations to provide animal-assisted therapy; it would be a research center for the study of the impact of animal-assisted therapy; and it would facilitate art and music therapy.

More specifically, first, we would have animals on-site during working hours, and children and adults could visit with them for therapy. Those with autism could come to be with the animals and receive therapy; others with special needs could come; and those who just need some solace in their day could come. There would be a room where budding readers of any age could read to dogs and other animals. Perhaps it could be a “boys and girls” club for the new era, with a special focus, however, on those with special needs and autism spectrum disorder.

Second, the center would also train animals to serve as therapy animals and coordinate visits for human-animal teams to places like hospitals, nursing homes, schools, homeless shelters, etc. Perhaps we could also train dogs to serve as permanent assistance dogs for those with PTSD and autism.

Third, the center would provide research opportunities for those who wish to study animal-assisted therapy. Although research shows that animal-assisted therapy has enormous benefits, there remains a very significant need for serious, well-planned, well-executed research in this area.

Finally, the center could also be open to other kinds of alternative therapies, such as art and music therapy.

The center would be a non-profit foundation, and visitors would pay based on ability. It would be sustainable because it would provide a service that greatly benefits people.

About You

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About You

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Carey

Last Name

Bollinger Danielson

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United States

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Your idea

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Title of your idea

Solace: A Center for Animal-Assisted Therapy and Research

Give us the highlights of your idea for making Saint Paul great (2,000 characters maximum or approx. 250 words)

I would create a center for animal-assisted therapy and other alternative therapies. This center would do several things. It would house animals and trained therapists during business hours, who would together work with children and adults with many different kinds of needs and from many diverse backgrounds; it would coordinate human and animal volunteers who visit other locations to provide animal-assisted therapy; it would be a research center for the study of the impact of animal-assisted therapy; and it would facilitate art and music therapy.
More specifically, first, we would have animals on-site during working hours, and children and adults could visit with them for therapy. Those with autism could come to be with the animals and receive therapy; others with special needs could come; and those who just need some solace in their day could come. There would be a room where budding readers of any age could read to dogs and other animals. Perhaps it could be a “boys and girls” club for the new era, with a special focus, however, on those with special needs and autism spectrum disorder.
Second, the center would also train animals to serve as therapy animals and coordinate visits for human-animal teams to places like hospitals, nursing homes, schools, homeless shelters, etc. Perhaps we could also train dogs to serve as permanent assistance dogs for those with PTSD and autism.
Third, the center would provide research opportunities for those who wish to study animal-assisted therapy. Although research shows that animal-assisted therapy has enormous benefits, there remains a very significant need for serious, well-planned, well-executed research in this area.
Finally, the center could also be open to other kinds of alternative therapies, such as art and music therapy.
The center would be a non-profit foundation, and visitors would pay based on ability. It would be sustainable because it would provide a service that greatly benefits people.

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Innovation

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What makes your idea different or unexpected? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

Animal-assisted therapy and other alternative therapies are beginning to receive recognition for what they can do, but it is a burgeoning area not yet adequately studied and not widely used. This center would be one of the first of its kind, at the forefront of an idea that is just starting to gain traction. As evidence continues to mount regarding the benefits of animal-assisted therapy, this center would be seen as an innovative and important contribution to society.

Impact

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This Entry is about (Issues)

How will your idea make a difference in Saint Paul? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

Animal-assisted therapy has been shown to have myriad benefits. These therapies would benefit those in St. Paul; meanwhile St. Paul would come to be known as a center for this type of forward-thinking programs that really make a difference in people’s lives. In research and volunteer work that I did in New York City, I have seen the impact of animal-assisted therapy, but I have also seen that it is underused and understudied. The center would be a hub for a range of services that are currently difficult to learn about and find, making the services more visible to and better used by the community.

Sustainability

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Why do you think people will recognize or remember your idea after it comes to life? How might it inspire others to do something similar in their community? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

So many people are touched by animals in their lives. Almost without fail, if one begins talking about animal-assisted therapy, the concept resonates with people. They love their pets, and they intuitively believe in the capacity of this as a real therapy. But there are few centers in the country that do it and even fewer that do it at a high level. People would remember this because it feels real to them and resonates with them. It could inspire others because it is a common sense idea that feels like it is obvious, but has real benefits to people; it would inspire others to look to implement, in big and small ways, similar common sense ideas that help.

apolinario sasam said: Well, I do know that animals are greatly contributing to therapies as of the moment. They have become support systems and this is ... about this Competition Entry. - 2684 days ago read more >

Carey Bollinger Danielson updated this Competition Entry. - 2890 days ago

Carey Bollinger Danielson submitted this idea. - 2890 days ago