Friday, March 23, 2012

Miracle Dogs

I know a lot of people are going to see The Hunger Games this weekend. (Which is a great movie by the way.) One of the actors, Josh Hutcherson, who plays Peeta Mellark actually starred in a movie that explored the healing power of dogs when he was much younger.

Josh  now, fighting for his life
Josh then, fighting for a dog's life
In Miracle Dogs, he teams up with a dog named Annie who he finds while moving to a new town. Annie (a cancer survivor with only 3 legs) is sent to the pound in the hopes that she gets adopted. When her time there starts running out Charlie (Josh Hutcherson) breaks her and a male dog out.

Puppies are born and now there are several dogs that need a place to stay. Charlie decides to keep the dogs in the basement of the hospital where his parents work, just until he can find them permanent homes. But then something happens.

Annie and her pups sneak out at night and visit the patients after hours. And oddly enough, the patients start recovering at incredible rates. 

Not everyone is excited about the "miracle dogs" though and Charlie ends up causing problems for his family and friend by protecting these dogs.

Miracle Dogs might not have gotten the rave reviews of The Hunger Games, but it is a good family friendly movie that also lets your cheer for the underdogs!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Let's Get Moving!

The first time my husband went horseback riding he was warned, "You're going to be so sore!"

Riding a horse works muscles you didn't even know you have. This makes it a perfect animal for strength training and some physical therapists are doing exactly that!

If you are intrigued by the idea that riding a horse helps build core muscles, balance, and stamina you can easily search for a place that uses hippotherapy near you. PATH International, formerly NAHRA, is a the accrediting body over all therapeutic horsemanship groups and they currently have about 800 centers around the world registered.

I checked out  websites from a few of the many accredited groups that listed "backriding/tandem hippotherapy" as an activity they offered. Here are a couple that stuck out to me:

Bit-By-Bit explains the usefulness of hippotherapy in physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy.

Canyon Ranch Physical Therapy, Inc. is a physical therapy clinic that happens to be in a barn. They treat all of their patients using hippotherapy.

Haven Hills Therapeutic Riding Center introduced me to this wonderful poem by John Anthony Davies:

I saw a child who couldn't talk or walk
Sit on a horse, laugh and talk
Then ride through a field of daisies
and yet, he couldn't walk unaided.
I saw a child, no legs below,
sit on a horse and make it go
through woods of green
and places he had never been
to sit and stare, except from a chair.
I saw a child who couldn't crawl
mount a horse and sit up tall.
Put it through degrees of paces
and laugh at the wonder in our faces.
I saw a child born into strife,
Take up and hold the reins of life
and that same child, I heard him say
Thank God for showing me the way.

Little Bit, don't let the name fool you, all ages are welcome. This organization was started by a women with Multiple Sclerosis when she discovered that riding a horse was slowing down the progression of her disease.

TREAT is a program that is a part of Tarleton State University; something to think about if you're interested in going into hippotherapy when you finish college.

Windridge conducts research as they are providing hippotherapy which could lead to a wider acceptance of the practice, and maybe even the discovery of more uses for horse therapists.

This is his first time riding a horse. What a natural!
My husband ended up loving the experience and has been looking forward to going horseback riding again ever since.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

National Horse Protection Day

 Horses and human have been working together for over 5,000 years. We have used horses for transport, farm work, and even for their milk. And while these beautiful animals are smart, powerful, fast, and strong willed they need us to be their advocates when they are in trouble.

With the economy in the state that it's in, people are finding it harder and harder to provide their horses with the care they need. The Colorado Horse Rescue estimates that the average cost for a horse is $15 a day, and they normally live 20-30 years. When people are unable to take care of their horses the options are limited due to their size, leaving many horses to become neglected. The American Veterinary Medical Association website has a Q&A page about unwanted horses and horse slaughter where you can learn more about the issues involved.

Horse Protection has come up with a list of ideas if you are interested in helping protect these magnificent animals. I think the best way to become an advocate is to become educated and that is the mission of the Unwanted Horse Coalition; education.

To do my part, I'll be spotlighting the different ways that horses are used in healing in the next few blog posts.
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