Donkeys-For-Good: Asinotherapy Program featured in online magazines

March 13, 2019

Latham Centers’ donkey therapy program has gotten some exposure online recently with our Donkey Wedding announcement,  and two recent feature stories written by freelancers have provided excellent perspectives on the impact our miniature donkeys have made in the lives of our residents.

Hope in the Saddle magazine published “Miniature Donkeys are Unlikely Allies for those with Prader-Willi Syndrome”  earlier this year, noting “Dogs and horses may be the stars of most animal therapy programs, but at the Latham Centers residential program for adults with special needs, it’s donkeys who are changing lives.” The article, written by Jessica Morris after interviewing Latham staffers including donkey trainer Kristiane Thompson, details how our residents learn life skills through the donkey program. “Each resident’s journey through the donkey program begins by interacting one-on-one with a donkey until Thompson feels that the resident is comfortable enough to join the program’s six-week training course. During this “Donkey 101” course, students learn how to safely interact with and care for the donkeys. Graduates of the course can then participate in daily feeding, grooming, cleaning, and even training activities.”

Patrice Carroll, our PWS expert, was also interviewed for the article. “As our individuals learn to nurture and encourage the donkeys to become more compliant, they are strengthening their own ability to self-regulate their emotions and behavior.”

Kristiane noted, “I have been a part of this program for more than eight years and I have never seen any challenging behaviors from our individuals while they are around the donkeys… The donkeys are very calming. They bring out the best in everyone.”

Another publication, New England Psychologist, also featured Latham’s donkey therapy program recently. In the article, Patrice comments that people often hyper-focus on the challenges of PWS and discount the positives—a much longer list. “Individuals with PWS tend to be extremely engaging, funny, and empathetic. We focus on the good list, and we shorten the list of challenges, and the donkey program is one of the ways that’s helped us do that.”

These articles have provided an exciting way to share the positive outcomes of our Asinotherapy Program. Our upcoming community event – a Donkey Wedding — will raise awareness and funds for the donkey therapy program and offer a chance to celebrate with old and new Latham friends. Next week, we’ll share more about the plans underway for Esther and Esau’s bayside farm wedding on May 11th at Taylor-Bray Farm in Yarmouth Port. We hope you’ll come!

If you’d like to attend the wedding, tickets to the event are $25 for adults and $5 for kids. Limited seating is available, so RSVP soon! More information is available on our website Donkeys-For-Good page, including information on how to sponsor or donate to the event.