Therapeutic Benefits of Animals

Discover Why Our Animals Improve Emotional and Physical Well-Being

At Dream Catcher Retreat Center, we know about animals helping humans. Our family of therapeutic animals in Santa Fe helps improve the emotional and physical well-being of our guests with experiences that teach teambuilding, trust, and compassion.  Animals feel our pain, our joy, our stress and respond with compassion – allowing guests to focus, even for a short time, on something other than themselves.


Therapeutic Benefits of Animals

There have been increasing claims that animals have health benefits, whether they are a pet or you are just communing with them.  The question is can we believe all the hype?  We will explore the studies from Vanderbuilt University.  No one is suggesting that an animal is a replacement for a healthy lifestyle, but an addition to it.

The most common claims made include: decreased blood pressure, cholestrol levels, and triglyceride levels.  According to Animals and Cardiovascular Health (Jennings 1995), pet owners had signficantly lower systolic blood pressure, lower plasma triglycerides, and lower cholestrol levels for men and women.  The impacts were modest, and more research is needed.  However, my observation  is that people actually feel the calming effects immediately.

Studies of dogs as pets have demonstrated improvements to psychological well-being according to a Serpell 1990 study.  Animals increase opportunities for physical exercise, which is another side benefit!  Look at Jenny, our sweet donkey in the photo, and see if you can resist stroking or brushing her!

Why a Donkey?

They are serene, with a Zen-like demeanor that gives you a peaceful moment in this busy world.  When you arrive here take the time to look into her dreamy brown eyes, and you will understand.  Or just work with Jenny and she will amaze you and steal your heart.


kid goat fun

Goat Mania!

If you would have told this city girl gone country that I would love being around goats I would have thought you were out of your mind!  Goat therapy gives focus and companionship to people. The innocence of animals and their ability to love unconditionally makes animals special.

We all want to connect with them in a mysterious and powerful way that will strengthen and nurture both humans and animals.  To bond with animals, we have to step outside ourselves, and learn to communicate on their terms and in their language.


Animals feel our pain, our joy, our stress

Whether we want to recognize it or not, the emotional as well as the physical environment we humans create has a direct impact on the way animals behave.  The emotional benefits from being around animals are hard to measure; animals help humans without anyone knowing exactly why.  What experts know is that animals allow humans to focus, even for a short time, on something other than themselves.


This is what we do know about animals helping humans

  • Animals help Alzheimer patients by bringing them back to the present.
  • Children who suffer from  ADD are able to focus on a pet, which helps them to concentrate.
  • People with emotional problems share a common bond when they are in the room with an animal.  Instead of reacting negatively to one another, it boosts morale and fosters a positive environment.
  • Animals are an antidote to depression.  An animal can break the daily routine and stimulate other interests, and social interaction.
  • Everyone has the need to touch.  Some humans feel uncomfortable hugging or touching strangers.  Some people are alone and have no hands to hold, no bodies to hug.  Stroking an animal can provide stimulation that is lacking.  The non-verbal connection is invaluable in the healing process.
  • Animals are a source of expecation, hope, communication and fun!


Dream Catcher Retreat Center believes that the reason we love and want to be around animals so much is that they are our direct link to Spirit.  We invite you to come and feel the love with all of our wonderful creatures.  Click here or call 1-505-699-3080 today!

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