THE SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN A CHILD AND AN ANIMAL IS AN AREA IN WHICH. WITHOUT DOUBT, TENDERNESS AND UNDERSTANDING FIGURE PROMINENTLY. IT IS EVEN MORE SYMBIOTIC AND SIGNIFICANT WHEN THE FORMER GETS BENEFICIAL SMILES OUT OF THE CONTACT WITH THE LATTER. WHEN AN ANIMAL BECOMES YOUR OWN SPECIAL THERAPY OF LOVE AND REHABILITATION
Being a child is not always easy, and anyone who believes the contrary to be true is using reasoning that is hasty and driven by the superficial idea that games and fresh air are enough to ensure that you will have a young person without any particular problems. Children are often given a great deal in material terms but it is not necessarily the case that they are observed and listened to with the same amount of grace and attention. These small men and women of the future have much to say but often barricade themselves behind a wall of silence, due to a fear of speaking out, or of not knowing how to explain themselves, perhaps constrained by ambivalent family situations, or terrified of parental figures, not always capable of putting them at ease.
We adults need to study them with respect and to play the game perceptively. On the one hand these small, excited, shouting and joyous youngsters can make a racket, but their feelings of unease can also be equally strong. Depression, autism and problems with socialisation are some the marks that can undermine a child’s happiness, together with hyperactivity, learning difficulties or the inability to adapt.
What might be a good way to intervene sensitively and without making ones children feel guilty, wrong, or different from others? In what way can one offer something that, perhaps, in the search for a better condition, might also entertain them?
If, in Italian it is translated as with the word “Zoo Therapy” it is better known as Pet Therapy. It is a gentle therapy based on the collaboration between a child (or an adult, since it is not specifically for any particular age group) and an animal. It is a Co-Therapy which is placed side by side with traditional ones, and moves towards the spontaneous collaboration between a doctor and patient because it has the advantage of stimulating participation.
Although it was around 1960 that the child psychiatrist Boris Levinson began talking about the improvement resulting from being in the company of animals, it is only recently that pet therapy has found greater and proper recognition.
Of fundamental importance is the choice of the animal with which to treat every single patient, on the basis of preference, psychophysical capacity, any phobias or allergies, or emotive reactions. Thus, it is possible to work with cats, dogs, horses (hippotherapy) donkeys, and dolphins (dolphin therapy).
Pet therapy is certainly becoming established not only as a cotherapy but also as a course within many schools in Europe and in North America. Thus, thanks to an understanding which is without calculation and pretension, the improvements achieved by one of the two will have the ring of a shared will and of an unconditional love.