On May 11, the children of Valmiera SOS village experienced a special event: four-legged therapists had arrived – dogs specially trained for canister therapy. Such an opportunity is given by the campaign ‘Give children warmth for pets!’ As a result of which the children of Latvian SOS villages in both Valmiera and Īslīce will receive canine therapy classes for several months.
1 Canister therapy (therapy with specially trained dogs) – is a form of physical and psychological rehabilitation. The effect of therapy is achieved by the patient performing tasks and exercises of various complexity together with the dog, training motor skills and speech development. Self-confidence and initiative are also trained, communication skills and the ability to take care of a living creature are developed. Working with an animal creates positive emotions and these skills are trained unnoticed. Therapists have noticed that animals feel what humans need and provide it.
2 “Children left without families often have various emotional and psychological traumas – insecurity, communication problems, aggression, isolation. Children perceive animals differently – as friends, so we are happy about canine therapy classes, which will be able to compensate children’s emotional traumas in the long run and release them so that it is easier for them to integrate into society, ”says Edijs Petersons, director of Valmiera SOS Children’s Village.
3 This year, children growing up in the Latvian SOS villages of Valmiera and Īslīce will receive regular canisteria classes for several months, which will be funded by the charity campaign ‘Give children warmth of pets!’ funds obtained. When purchasing any ‘Whiskas’ or ‘Pedigree’ animal feed in May, 3% of the value of each product purchased will be donated to provide animal therapy in SOS Children’s Villages.
4 “The biggest satisfaction with such campaigns is that we can see the positive emotions that animals give to children right away – as soon as the children meet the dogs. We are organizing this campaign for the first time in Latvia, but as soon as we see how much fun the activities with dogs bring to children, we are convinced that we are doing a good job and such campaigns should definitely be repeated in the future, ”says Mindaugas Rupšis, ‘Mars Inc.’ Head of Corporate Relations in the Baltics.