Projects Abroad Argentina opens new Canine Therapy project
Volunteers will work alongside the foundation’s owner, Mariana Ferrero, and her team of therapists. Since opening their doors in 2002, Ferrero’s mission has been to “improve the patients’ quality of life through the human-animal connection.”
Animal-assisted therapy is a relatively modern theory, but a popular one that has been growing since the early ‘90s. Being around animals naturally eases anxiety in humans and facilitates interactions. The presence of dogs has been proven to lower stress levels and increase pleasure levels and bonding hormones in people.
Located just outside of downtown Córdoba, Fundación Jingles is located on a large property with both indoor and outdoor working space. The centre currently employs six therapists, trained to work in the areas of speech pathology, kinesiology, neurological rehabilitation and psychology for individuals and families.
The dogs are trained from a young age depending on the kind of treatment with which they are expected to assist. "We have a permanent presence of dogs in all of the therapy activities,” states Ferrero. “You begin by establishing a tie between the patient and the dog, and then you increase the quantity and the quality of their interactions.”
Most of the dogs involved in the project are rescued from the streets and undergo special training from a young age to be able to take part in patient therapy. If a dog doesn’t demonstrate the willingness to take part in the programme, then it is moved to another home. Ferrero emphasises that all of the dogs involved in the programme are there out of their own will.
Taking cues from Ferrero’s team of therapists, volunteers will have the chance to develop their skills while helping to carry out daily tasks, care for the dogs and assist patients in reaching their individual goals. Volunteers will also be able to take initiative through planning creative activities for the children at the centre and developing and contributing to project evaluation reports.