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Due to the ongoing Coronavirus situation, Haywill Animal Rescue and Therapy Centre is currently closed to the public. This means we are currently also not rehoming any animals as we cannot carry out the necessary checks or arrange transport.

If you have any donations, please leave them in the donation bins by the gate.


“Motivation is increased with animal interaction. For example, persons who had refused therapy came to the therapy sessions when they knew animals were going to be present.”

Country Care via


Animal therapy is a very important part of our charity, we work with people with special needs, mental health issues, disabilities and behavioural difficulties using the animals.

“Animal Assisted Therapy” (to give it the correct title) is an intervention for people with a wide range of difficulties. It engages the client in a therapeutic/ learning process to bring about awareness and a change in emotional, psychological, physical and behavioural problems. It is experiential in nature, people learn about themselves and others by participating in activities with the animals then discussing and debriefing about the process.

The benefits of Animal Assisted Therapy are widely documented. Animals provide a social and emotional support for the person, with assumptions that because the animal seems non-judgemental to the person, it is perceived as comforting, raises self-esteem and makes it easier for the person to express themselves.

“Petting a dog with which one is bonded to, promotes relaxation, characterised by decreased blood pressure and increases in peripheral skin temperature.”

Veldi and Fisher (2005)

Objectives of Animal Assisted Therapy

  • For experiential learning through the development of a relationship with an animal which relies on mutual trust and respect
  • To examine behavioural issues such as healthy boundaries, in a non-confrontational way
  • To learn to control anger for the benefit of the animal
  • To learn new skills, learning to manage and care for an animal
  • To discuss many PSHE topics such as hygiene, personal care, diet and other important issues through discussion about the animal’s needs
  • To face fear
  • To take on responsibility and make decisions
  • To talk about feelings, relationships and ways of communication
  • To understand problem solving

Outcomes of Animal Assisted Therapy

  • More trust and respect for self and others
  • A change in perception of self and others through self awareness
  • A feeling of empowerment
  • Improved self esteem
  • Improved self confidence
  • Improved assertiveness
  • Personal growth and understanding
  • Improved communication skills and better understanding of non-verbal communication 

Animal Assisted Therapy promotes social interaction, reduces anxiety, releasing stress, increases morale, increases calmness, improves outlook, reduces fear and can reduce the need for medication.

This approach has also shown to help children who have been victims of Child Sexual Exploitation. They are less likely to be anxious and therapist and child are able to form a greater sense of rapport more quickly as they feel more comfortable in a therapy setting.

The therapy is “not one size fits all” and depends on the individual. At the first interview, an Individual learning plan is completed. We will define the objectives and desired outcomes of therapy. These are reviewed on a monthly basis. All sessions are attended by a carer or another person in a support capacity.

Our policy is that all problems are left at the gate before coming through it! Animal assisted learning is especially good for people who don’t take to talking therapies.

We are having resounding success with this therapy and are being recommended by the local PCT and support groups.

We also have a “volunteers” show team who take our rescue horses to shows. This improves confidence, self esteem, team working abilities and showcases the vital work we do at Haywill. We are currently looking for someone who will sponsor our horse box for these shows. If you are interested in getting involved, please get in touch.

Who delivers the therapy?

Lynn P Haydon-Williams, the founder of Haywill, is a qualified Special educational needs teacher with QTS and PGCE.

For many years she has worked both in specialised schools and inner city schools in the state education system with children with various special needs. In addition, she is a certified councillor in bereavement counselling and anger management and is currently working to achieve a Level 3 certificate in assisted therapy skills.

Unfortunately, there are currently no official qualifications for Animal Assisted Therapy.

Is there a professional body for animal therapists that accredits individual practitioners?

At present there is no professional association that we have identified. However, we are looking to start an association so animal therapists can come together to share knowledge and resources.

Please also read our Safeguarding policy

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