George-Sand’s students introduced the benefits of pet therapy

In this period of health crisis and isolation, traumatic for some, the presence of an animal is beneficial. Young high school students in the Sapat sector (services to people and territories) at George-Sand High School discovered on Thursday afternoon another facet of this cohabitation: the benefits of animal care.

Highly visible results

In other words, the therapeutic power of animals for people suffering from mental, physical or social disorders. Organized by six final year students, this activity is part of their professional action. It was led by Jean-Yves Joubert, a certified veterinarian. It works in establishments for dependent elderly people or for people with disabilities, in special classes that make it possible to educate students with disabilities and in prisons. For each of these target groups, the results obtained are very visible, such as improved motor or speech skills, appeasement and increased concentration.

The animal becomes a partner

The zoo therapist engages the animals to become partners who in freedom will be able to help him be a mediator to support people. “For some it will be a moment of participation and trust with an animal on its knees. For others, a mobility aid, such as regaining balance with a pigeon or overcoming obstacles with a dog, but all will discover real beneficial effects and a great emotional contribution, the specialist explains.

For the six high school students who started this project, the results are very satisfactory: the fifty-three students who were made aware of this practice were largely won.

From the “Piou” pigeon to the “Anatole” dwarf rabbit

First, Jean-Yves Joubert presented to the students of the Lycée George-Sand the animals that cooperate with him, “Piou”, “Anatole”, the dwarf rabbit, “Caramel” and “Chocolate” guinea pigs. and “Orus,” the German shepherd. “Each session begins with the presentation of the animals that follow me. It is a first memory and self-confidence work. A relationship of trust must be established. If a person is afraid of animals, I start with very simple games that contain them, first to calm them down and then let them accept the presence of a living being by their side, very often with hair. Usually, at the end of the session, the person is no longer afraid of it, and mutual sympathy is established. Then we can move on to the next step, to maintenance and food, carrots to the rabbit, peppers to the guinea pigs. These are important moments of interaction. From there, the relationship is possible and the exchange with the animal can bear fruit, the veterinarian explains.