Cute Animals To Cuddle: Animal-assisted Therapy at St.Elisabeth Convent

Is there anyone who doesn’t know how useful equine therapy may be for the sick? Early childhood autism, oligophrenia, and cerebral palsy are hard to treat with traditional methods. Children who suffer from these severe illnesses especially benefit from therapeutic horse riding. In addition to health benefits, the children simply enjoy spending time with horses – these strong, beautiful and faithful helpers of ours.
This is why the sisters decided to organise horse riding classes for children with special needs on the territory of the rehabilitation centre. Although there is still much left to be done, the first groups of children have already started their classes.

Nun Vera whose main obedience is in the stable, believes that “God uses horses to comfort us poor humans, plagued by sin. Spending time with horses makes us closer to nature. It allows us to regain our natural mental stability. We would be immensely grateful to anyone who could help us to buy equipment for the horses, e.g. a horse carrier, We need funds to refurbish our riding hall and stable, too.”

We have also opened Sirin Contact Zoo in the rehabilitation centre recently. Unlike in a regular zoo, the visitors can contact the animals directly, not just look at them from afar. Children who live in the huge metropolitan city are especially fond of visiting such a zoo. They get the opportunity to hold in their hands a white hedgehog, a small tortoise or a ferret.
They can give carrots to a donkey or a lamb and hear exciting stories about them. Nun Irina, the director of the zoo, says that “these animals are not just living exhibits. The animals that live in the zoo start to trust people again. People start to trust each other.” We plan to establish a shelter for abandoned and homeless animals.
If our plans come true, the children will be able to enjoy being with animals and become healthier. It will also help the brothers who stay in the rehabilitation centre to have important and meaningful work to do.
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