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DannyDahliabuttingheadsThe COVID-19 pandemic has taken lives. It's affected jobs. It's permanently closed businesses. It's affected how we grieve. It's canceled vacations and weddings. It's caused burnout. It even managed to stop sports there for a while.

And it's not like the rest of 2020 has been much better. Kobe passed away. The senseless loss of George Floyd's life and ongoing racial injustice. The California wildfires. Political division brought on by the election. Hurricane season along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. As you know, this list only scratches the surface.

It's...a lot.

BrighterDays FBCover

Support ‘Rescued Animals Rescuing People’ at Animal Assisted Therapy Programs of Colorado on Colorado Gives Day

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Loneliness is bad for your health, but fortunately there are a few ways to combat it.


 When the temperatures soar, we need to keep a close eye on our cats to ensure they don’t suffer from heat stroke. Heat stroke is when a cat’s body temperature rises. Below you will find the symptoms to look out for and how to prevent heat stroke in cats.

FredwithClientAt AATPC we know we have wonderful, therapeutic animals. But we also know that nearly all animals can have therapeutic benefits. Both informally, and through our  Filial Pet Therapy Program we advocate for families to adopt pets from one of their local animal shelters, and find fun and helpful ways to interact.

Cooper SmilingPavlov might have called that happy look on your dog’s face a collection of conditioned reflexes, but now science is catching up with what animal lovers have always known.


ClientwalkinganimalsTeaching kids to have compassion and empathy for their furry, feathered, and finned friends is vital for preventing cruelty to animals as well as in raising them to respect and treat those who are different from them with kindness. According to the National PTA Congress, "Children trained to extend justice, kindness, and mercy to animals become more just, kind, and considerate in their relations to each other. Character training along these lines will result in men and women of broader sympathies; more humane, more lawabiding, in every respect more valuable citizens."

Fred SnugglingCats are different animals. They have many wonderful, and some frustrating qualities - just like our partners. Cats are proud, independent, stubborn, loving, devoted, and silly. To have a cat love you feels wonderful, because you know you have earned that love - a cat usually does not give its love generously. One feels privileged to be loved by a cat.


Doggone good medicine -- therapy animals spread comfort and healing in hospitals and beyond

For 14 of my 30 years I worked with my cat Norman in counseling sessions with couples and families, then incorporated my therapy dog Rupert into my work. Working with an animal as a co-therapist adds a new dimension to the process that is both enlightening and fun for the couple and the therapist. 

Dancing ratsMost of us who own pets intrinsically know the value they have in our lives. Whether seeing them as a child or an animal, we love our pets and feel that love returned. Animal love is unconditional. Of earthly relationships, our relationship with our pet may be the most honest and pure we know. While our pets may manipulate us, we generally don't lie to them, or put on airs. We don't get jealous of their friendships, or their new car. They love us with or without makeup or a bad hair day, and if we're fat or thin. They love who we are, and we love who they are because of it. 

2Addie (not her real name or photo to protect her confidentiality) came to AATPC after being referred by the local police department's victim's assistance unit. She had experienced extreme trauma in her home and had recently been moved to a temporary foster home. As a young teen Addie was not happy to be in "therapy" and refused to talk during her first two appointments at the ranch. It took a very patient and wise counselor to accept her silence as her need for control and demand for respect. Instead of talking they groomed the horses and played with the cats. Her counselor told her about the animal's histories - all had been taken from bad situations and re-homed with us - we were their permanent family now. 

AATPC sees many families, often as a result of divorce, a parent’s alcohol or drug use, or a child’s acting out behaviors. The Smith Family (not their real name) had a different story. Mr. Smith had been fighting a rare type of liver cancer for 3 years with little improvement. He was unable to work and relied on his wife’s income to support the family with 2 young boys. The family was continuing to receive a great deal of material and logistical support from their community, which helped with food and transportation for the children. But the family was fatigued from the lack of routine and continuity. While grateful and attempting to appear hopeful about Mr. Smith’s health, Mrs. Smith was becoming depressed and fearful. The boys were each acting out in school and fighting with each other. Mr. Smith felt disengaged and guilty for being unable to contribute to the family. The family was grieving but because Mr. Smith had not been told he was “terminal” they could not share this in public.

Steve, an Iraq veteran, came to AATPC after he heard that he could come to therapy at a place with animals and for a fee he could afford. His AATPC counselor had a therapy dog in the first session and Steve felt calmer immediately and was able to talk about his anxiety and increasing use of alcohol. In the next few sessions his counselor helped Steve decrease his anxiety with mindfulness exercises with the therapist’s dog, and then later with one of the miniature horses. Steve had a dog at home and practiced the same skills with his dog daily, as well as when he noticed his anxiety increasing.

Barking C.A.A.T. Ranch
(Center for Animal Assisted Therapy)
7275 Kipling Street
Arvada, CO 80005
P 720-266-4444
F 720-266-4444

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