Animal-Assisted Therapy


Along with the educational staff, this psychiatric nurse/psychotherapist/ Animal-Assisted therapy Specialist, Kathryn Jean Gress, provides group therapy twice weekly, family and individual sessions weekly to embrace these clients.  A group of dedicated warm and furry animals team members, meet with this group on a biweekly basis.  the highly skilled co-therapists are Brutus and Kayla, Great Pyrenees dogs, Thumper, a Pennsylvania Dutch rabbit, and Syka Hya Muchka, a blue Persian cat.

Each client's treatment plan is custom tailored to the person, or group of clients. 

A complexity of needs and objectives can be addressed. These include some of the following: 

• stress management
• enhancement of physical and emotional balance 
• sense of greater empowerment and self control 
• integration of mind, body, and spirit.


• contributes to recovery
• lowers blood pressure
• increases self-care
• provides companionship
• security & protection
• increases concentration
• increases self esteem
• increases self confidence
• increases attention span
• increases balance
• increases endurance
• increases coordination
• improves speech
• improves memory

Trust and genuine rapport is at the nucleus of our therapy. Clients can learn to give and receive affection, increase focus and concentration, gain problem-solving techniques, and work with assertiveness and self confidence tools. The practice of verbal and non-verbal communication is one of the key factors that is learned through working with the horse.

The process begins with goal setting. Each client is able to develop a short term and long term goal prior to any interaction with the therapy animal. The therapist accompanies all clients when working with the horse. Afterwards, the treatment team therapist, the client, and significant others process how well the goals were met.

Mr. Bill reports, "The animals help to breakdown communication barriers, and are a safe or free place from the judgment of others."  "This type of therapy allows the children, the opportunity to open up and express their selves with the therapist."  Miss Melissa, states, " I have enjoyed watching the smiles on my student's faces as they interact with the animals."  "Many of the students in my classroom do not have pets at home, and this type of therapy gives them the opportunity to build a relationship with an animal, while learning  to be responsible."  Mr. Tom Smoot, M.A., licensed psychologist, states "It's amazing to see how engaged and attentive the children are when they are walking the dog, Kayla."  

"The change in their mood and behavior is dramatic."  "They are definitely calmer and more focused."
Many of the students relate to the animals as role models.  These special therapy animals, share with the children, their abilities to "stay on task, follow directions, and relate to the children in a caring, friendly, and inviting ways." ''Relating the life qualities of the animals to the lives of the children, brings experiences home to these clients'', reports, Kathryn Gress.  Brutus, life experience with his stomach cancer, Kayla's timid or shyness, Thumper's strong will for living even with blindness, and Muchka's heartfelt nurturing even with  kidney failure, and Alzheimer's disease is quite empowering to all.  as, their therapist, Kathryn Gress, brings things up close and personal

and deals with "here and now happening" for continued strength and resilience for the students.

We hope to continue our growth and developments of this special treatment modality and watch it's magic touch more kids in crisis to help them live healthier lives. In fact, individual sessions are requested to help "reach hard to connect students."  Kayla, is taking on more of the responsibilities, as Brutus, is having some medical difficulties at this time.  The students always inquire about Brutus, daily, and this message helps keep the dialogue open between therapist and students.  The students are first talking with the therapy animals, then the animals help bridge conversation to the therapist, the teacher, and each other.  Many  of the families are very happy to embrace the "human-animal bond."  A written photo consent is required and then a picture is produced of the therapy animal and the student for all who request.  In this article, are some productive happy students with their co-therapists, Brutus and Kayla and their educational staff.

The motto, "Animals helping People and People helping Animals," raised by this KidsPeace creative expressive therapist is very engaging to many people.   The ministry of Animals helping people, Kathryn Gress has been successful in partnering with therapy animals for school children.  Kathryn Gress has started a reading program, "Reading is Fundamental; where students read to the therapy animals to enhance their reading and learning abilities.  the special, "Lucky students of the sub acute room 13, Thank you in advance, for your continued support for Animal-Assisted Therapy with Kathryn Jean Gress.

Copyright 2012©. The Gress Mountain Ranch®. All Rights Reserved. 
No images from this site may be downloaded or reprinted without permission