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A new partnership offers a unique therapy for Military Veterans

Published: Nov. 12, 2020 at 2:24 PM CST
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - Both of their missions are to help individuals heal. Now Alaqua Animal Refuge and The HOPE Project have teamed together to increase their reach.

“In the past we have worked with handicap individuals autistic children and substance abuse groups but we have always wanted to reach PTSD patients in the military community and the hope project has come in partnered with us and now we are able to make that into a reality,” said Laurie Hood - Founder of Alaqua Animal Refuge.

All by using the love of an animal.

“There are some great counselors out there but there is always this barrier between veterans and counselors how much can we share are we going to be accepted but with horses there is no barrier,” said David Trodgon - Director of The HOPE Project.

There are eight therapy sessions, each an hour long and different for each vet. It’s the bond that forms between the animal and veteran that makes this program so beneficial.

“Sharing our wounds actually with the horses where veterans will be encouraged to use horse supplies or wraps and put those on themselves where they’ve experienced injures for example I have had multiple traumatic brain injuries so I may wrap an ace bandage around my head or leg injuries or whatever they may be then we will actually transfer those to a horse,” said Trogdon

Allowing vets to share their wounds with someone else for a sense of comfort.

While this program helps heal the veterans and their families, the horses are also feeling a sense of healing.

“Horses come in and they really do like to have a job and sometimes their job is just being apart of individuals they love to be groomed they love to explore they love to have that interaction and so you can tell the horses that we work with their spirits are just a little bit better than the ones that are just put out to pastures they really truly enjoy that human contact,” said Hood.

Alaqua is also offering scholarships for this program making the therapy completely free. If any Veterans would be interested in this therapy you can contact Alaqua Animal Refuge through their Facebook along with The HOPE Project on their Facebook.

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