Esther and Esau are eager to spend time with Latham Centers resident Diane.
Dogs and horses may be the typical stars of most animal-assist-ed therapy programs, but at the Latham Centers residential program for adults with disabilities, it’s donkeys who are changing lives.
The Massachusetts-based organization provides care and support for those with complex special needs and specializes in serving adults with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS)—a genetic disorder that can cause developmental disabilities, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, and an insatiable appetite that can lead to obesity. These challenges require individuals with PWS to constantly exercise remarkable self-control in order to lead healthy, positive lives.
In 2008, Latham Centers discovered an unlikely ally for those with PWS: miniature donkeys. Dr. Janice Forster, a renowned neuropsychiatrist and expert in PWS treatment, suggested the idea to Latham Centers based on the success of donkey-assisted therapy programs in Germany. Within a year, Latham Centers purchased a residential home with property for livestock in East Sandwich, Massachusetts, and adopted six miniature donkeys. Although the donkeys did not come to the center with formal therapy training, they were gentle, friendly, and up to the task. After a few months of training by Latham Centers donkey trainer Kristiane Thompson, the longears proved they would shine in their new roles as therapy animals.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Colic Surgery: Yes or No?
Is your horse a candidate for colic surgery? These five factors can help you decide.
Lessons with Longears
These miniature donkeys are helping teach big lessons.
A Facebook post led to a midnight rescue and an unexpected partnership.
Bounce Back After a BOTCH
Do you ever blow a class at a horse show? We all do. Here’s how to bounce back better than before.
HEAD TO WYOMING TO EXPLORE A HIDDEN GEM SANDWICHED BETWEEN TWO MOUNTAIN RANGES AND WILDERNESS AREAS.
A Gift Horse Named GEORGE
When April Freeland found herself horseless, she learned the importance of never looking a gift horse in the mouth when a horse named George came into her life.
'Studdy' BEHAVIOR IN GELDINGS
Why do some geldings act like stallions? Such behavior can cause trouble in the barn or out in pasture. Learn what to watch for and tips for safely managing a “studdy” gelding.
Diarrhea: Is It Serious?
Learn how to tell the difference between loose manure and potentially deadly diarrhea—and how to protect your horse when the condition strikes.
Keeping It Simple
Don’t overcomplicate kids’ first lessons.
FALL RIDING AT FORT ROBINSON
RICH IN WESTERN HISTORY, FORT ROBINSON’S 20,000 ACRES IS FILLED WITH BEAUTIFUL BUTTES AND ROLLING HILLS, MAKING IT THE PERFECT FALL DESTINATION.