Animal Assisted Therapy for Children in Guatemala

by Asociacion de Padres y Amigos de Personas con Discapacidad de Santiago Atitlan
Animal Assisted Therapy for Children in Guatemala
Animal Assisted Therapy for Children in Guatemala
Animal Assisted Therapy for Children in Guatemala
Animal Assisted Therapy for Children in Guatemala
Animal Assisted Therapy for Children in Guatemala
Animal Assisted Therapy for Children in Guatemala
Animal Assisted Therapy for Children in Guatemala
Animal Assisted Therapy for Children in Guatemala
Nataly
Nataly

In this last quarter, our therapy dog, Mo’os, continued with his previous therapies and also began working with a group of five children with various disabilities. This new strategy allowed these five children to socialize with one another as well as with Mo’os. One child with Down Syndrome, in particular, has benefited from this new strategy. Once very aggressive in group settings, this child was able to integrate himself into the group and collaborate with Mo’os and the other children.

Mo’os created a pleasant, enjoyable, and loving environment for many children with disabilities. These children had fun working with Mo’os and made important advances in their rehabilitation plans.

Nataly, a child with Cerebral Palsy, was initially scared to walk alone, however, supported by Mo’os, she felt secure walking and little by little her balance and coordination improved, eventually learning how to walk independently.

Eduardo, another child with Cerebral Palsy, worked closely with Mo’os. By jumping through circuits, climbing up and down steps, and walking in zigzags to deliver “a message of love” to Mo’os, Eduardo improved his coordination, memory, and fine motor skills.

Gaspar, a child with Down Syndrome, loved coming to Animal Assisted Therapy. With Mo’os, he worked on his numbers and colors in order to improve his attention, concentration, and memory.

Samuelito is also a child with Down Syndrome that worked with Mo’os for several years, brushing Mo’os’ fur from his head down to his paws, singing a song to signal the different parts of the body, and practicing his numbers and colors. In this time, Samuelito also improved his concentration and fine motor skills.

Gregorio, a child with Cerebral Palsy, used large tweezers and animal-shaped toys, placed on top of Mo’os’ body, to improve his fine motor skills. This therapy allowed Gregorio to pick up the toys with the tweezer in his right hand, his most affected hand, and hand them off to the therapist.

We could go on and on, mentioning the significant achievements and advances of every child that has received therapy with Mo’os. Unfortunately, Mo’os’ time has come to end. Last week, Mo’os passed away because of a genetic condition that ultimately resulted in renal failure.

The lessons that he left us, the achievements that he showed us, and the joy that he gave us are reason enough to find another dog that will allow the Assisted Animal Therapy program to continue. However, due to the untimely death of Mo’os, we have decided to temporarily suspend this campaign. Assisted Animal Therapy will continue at Adisa, however, it will take a few months to find and train a new therapy dog.

We are immensely grateful to everyone who has contributed to this project. Thank you for your support and stay tuned for more details on our next Animal Assisted Therapy Campaign!

Eduardo
Eduardo
Gaspar
Gaspar
Samuelito
Samuelito
Gregorio
Gregorio
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Rosita and Moss in Therapy
Rosita and Moss in Therapy

Veterinary Update:

These past few months, Mo´os has been swimming a lot! Although he loves the water, the vet noticed that he suffered from water related allergies. After prescribing a medication and a thorough oatmeal bath, Mo’os can return to his usual lake swimming without suffering from allergies.

In late June, Mo’os will be going to the vet again for his annual vaccines to prevent diseases.

 

Difficulties:

  • One of the main challenges we’ve faced this quarter has been transportation with our therapy dog Mo’ss. Some of the communities were we work are over 50 km away and is not always possible to find a dog friendly method of transportation!

Advances:

  • The children in animal therapy recognize and wait patiently for their turn to work with Mo’os
  • Children are more motivated to finish activities because they get to reward Mo’os with a treat afterwards.
  • Families have expressed their gratitude for animal therapy and many more families have inquired about the possibility of entering the program.
  • Many children have achieved socialization through their work with Mo’os.
  • One child in Cerro de Oro is now able to control his aggressive behavior with the help of physical therapy exercises with Mo’os

Conclusion:

Working with Mo’os in animal therapy is an extraordinary experience. To see the good that he brings to children’s emotional and physical wellbeing is truly heartwarming. Mo’os is well known in the communities where we work and receives a warm community welcome when he arrives. We continue to be grateful for the support we have received for this project as it allows to keep up with Mo’os medical and transportation expenses.

 

Featured Story: Rosita Lux Sicay

Rosita lives in Cerro de Oro, a small town on the shore of lake Atitlán. Her six other brothers and sisters are all married so she lives alone with her mother. One of her older sister supports her and her mother. At the beginning of her therapy, Rosita was aggressive with the other kids and very jealous when they worked with Mo’os (she lovingly calls him “Papo”). With time however, she has learned to control her behavior and socialize with others. She is now able to work alongside other children together in animal therapy. She loves working with Mo’os and is delighted when Mo’os gives her a proper doggy handshake!

Therapy this Quarter
Therapy this Quarter
Number of Therapy Sessions by Community
Number of Therapy Sessions by Community

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This year, Adisa is working with 10 girls and 11 boys in the Santiago Atitlán region. In the majority of these cases, Mo'os works with children to improve their socialization and allow the to share in a group dynamic. In this report, we'd like to share the stoy of Pedro and his mother to show the impact that animal therapy can have for these children. 

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Pedro’s mother is a very brave woman. When she was just 15 years old, gave birth to Pedro and despite her young age, she decided that she would always care for and support her baby.

 

A few months after birth and a couple medical exams later, the doctors determined that Pedro suffered from cerebral palsy due to the long and difficult birth. This condition makes it difficult for him to control his movements and his mouth. He began to work with Adisa in speech and phyiscal therapy. Slowly but surely, he made progress, and when he gained the ability to crawl and later stand-up on his own, he didn’t want to continue therapy at ADISA. He was a very active child, and wanted to play and goof-off like any other kid his age.

 

Adisa’s animal therapy program is the perfect solution for kids such as Pedro. Working with Mo’os in animal therapy calms him down and allows him to concentrate on his therapies. Each session feels more like play then work! Today, Pedro is very close to be able to walk on his own and his mother is very proud of him. While he works at Adisa, his mother attends school and has now graduated primary education.

 

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Organization Information

Asociacion de Padres y Amigos de Personas con Discapacidad de Santiago Atitlan

Location: Santiago Atitlan - Guatemala
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Francisco Sojuel
Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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