Animal Assisted Therapy Training
Animal-Assisted Therapy Training
We have such a strong bond with our beautiful, docile cattle that it has made us determined to find new ways of caring for and training our cattle that will allow them to lead long happy lives. Preparing them to be pets for people on small acreage has worked well. Training our cattle as Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) co-workers is a great source of pride for us. You can support this work by adopting (sponsoring) a calf (sponsoring) or purchasing a limited edition mascot.
Bonding with the cattle in the paddock is all part of the training. The part we obviously love.
Our Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) training is now in full swing. Late in 2012 we started preparing our smaller Galloway Influenced cattle to work with therapists wanting AAT co-workers. Now our full blood Miniature White Galloway cattle are wanting to show us they can do this too. We are calling our Miniature White Galloways that are AAT trained 'Cuddle Cows'.
The little bull being kissed in the paddock has sired some of our most docile calves.
Our new Cuddle Cow website is introducing this aspect, of these cattle, to kids and the young at heart. Our adoption program and mascot purchases support this training and the publishing of anti-bullying material online. Follow our Cuddle Cows on.
Why Use Miniature Cattle For AAT?
Not all people in wheelchairs can enjoy the freedom of riding horses, but they can certainly enjoy bonding with our miniature cattle. It was fascinating to watch the interaction when we introduced our cows to another new concept - a young man on wheels.
Rodney has been in a wheelchair since he was old enough to walk. Now twenty years old, Rodney had grown into a determined young man with an attitude of 'Disability - what disability?!' So, when he visited we started Rodney off by encouraging him to say hello to little TwoDee. TwoDee only came half way up Rod's shoulder, so he didn't feel at all intimidated by the little heifer. (I was so focussed on the proceedings I forgot to take a photo).
Rod is saying hello to a cow, really up close and personal, for the first time. Dusty is not fazed by the wheelchair.
When Rodney and TwoDee were 100% comfortable with each other, we gradually introduced TwoDee's Mum, Dusty. A full grown miniature cow, Dusty measures 116cm at the hip. However, weighing in at around 400kg, that is a lot of weight to be thrown around if something goes wrong. Rodney was acutely aware of this at first. As he spent more and more time with Dusty Rod became more engrossed in what he was doing and totally oblivious to their differences. It was soon apparent that as much as Rodney was a 'Disability what disability?' kind of guy and Dusty was a ' Wheelchair what wheelchair?' kind of girl.
When we progressed to TwoDee's Mum, Rod wasn't quite so convinced. However, it only took a little while for him to be reassured that all was well. Five minutes later they were firm friends. Dusty seemed to intuitively understand that she shouldn't lean too close to Rodney or the wheelchair. When we brush her Dusty will lean right into us, but she didn't do this to Rodney.
Rodney gives Dusty a very tentative brush. He has never been in a paddock full of cows before.
Dusty letting Rodney know that she likes his brushing technique and that she's cool with his wheels.
Rodney is looking pretty pleased with the new friendship. Dusty is very relaxed and enjoying the company.
Preparing For The Unexpected
One way of ensuring that the cattle we are training as AAT co-workers are prepared for the unexpected is to introduce them to as many children as we can, as often as we can. The children are perfectly safe. We explain what they can expect from the cattle and what they need to mindful of - basically the worst thing one of our cows will do is walk away from them.
The more visitors of all shapes and sizes the cattle meet, the more likely it is that they will encounter all sorts of weird and unusual happenings - for AAT training this is a good thing. Our cattle have now learned that loud noises, sudden movements and excited chatter are part and parcel of the interaction with children (and many adults for that matter!)
GOLD CREEK Galloway miniature cattle love nothing more than a paddock full of kids with brushes.
Helping Others Helping Us
We try to make as much time as we can to meet great new people and introduce them to the joys of owning these gorgeous little White Galloways. First timers love the opportunity to get up close and personal with our miniature cattle. Some of our recent visitors were keen to get hands on. They didn't want to pass up a chance to 'learn the ropes' while they were here. So, out with the halters and our cattle were only too happy to teach people about halter training and grooming.
This interaction is more than a two-way street. While we are passing on our experience and teaching others how to halter train and walk with the cattle, the cattle are learning about new people too. The more positive experiences the cattle have with different people, the better AAT co-workers they will become. The better AAT co-workers they become, the more people they will help. So, the bottom line is everyone's a winner. Read more