Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Vet Tech Gives Back Healing To Animals, Abused Kids

Date:
February 9, 2006
Source:
University Of Wisconsin-Madison
Summary:
No one doubts anymore the therapeutic power of a purr or a whinny, or of a cold wet nose. The role of animals in assisting the healing of physically or emotionally traumatized humans has entered the canon of medical science. Its arrival there has been long overdue, says Toni Schriver, a certified large animal veterinary technician at the School of Veterinary Medicine's Large Animal Hospital. She acts as a nurse in internal medicine to the animal patients, assisting in treatments and procedures such as endoscopies and radiology.

Veterinary technician Toni Schriver hangs out at home with her pets, Roxy, a German shepherd-rottweiler mix; Mousy, a domestic long-haired cat; and Phoenix, an eclectus parrot. Schriver is the founder of PAWWS to Heal (Passionate Animals Working With Survivors), a nonprofit organization that uses animal therapy to help abused and physically disabled children learn appropriate behavior and boundaries.
Credit: Photo : Michael Forster Rothbart

No one doubts anymore the therapeutic power of a purr or a whinny, or of a cold wet nose.

Related Articles


The role of animals in assisting the healing of physically or emotionally traumatized humans has entered the canon of medical science.

Its arrival there has been long overdue, says Toni Schriver, a certified large animal veterinary technician at the School of Veterinary Medicine’s Large Animal Hospital. She acts as a nurse in internal medicine to the animal patients, assisting in treatments and procedures such as endoscopies and radiology.

She also is a survivor of a decade of sexual abuse when she was young.

“My saving grace back then were the family pets,” she says. “We had horses, dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, hamsters and gerbils. I found my safety, patience, support and unconditional love from them.”

Schriver’s story begins in Madison in the 1960s. “I truly lost my innocence at a very young age. I struggled with fear, anger, lack of trust and deception as I grew up. When I reached my teens I was very destructive, using drinking and drugs to help hide the pain I was dealing with,” she says.

As an adult, Schriver learned to ease that pain by trying to help others. For example, her job as a school bus driver, which she got in 1980, gave her responsibility for the safety of abused and neglected children as they traveled to and from school. She also started doing volunteer work at a safe house for abused children.

In 1986 Schriver enrolled in the Animal Health Technician Program at Madison Area Technical College. After graduation she worked at zoos in Oregon, Texas, Maryland and California.

“This job allows me to give the healing back to animals,” she says. Indeed, the sentiment reverberates in her every time she draws blood or takes the vitals of a patient in the Large Animal Hospital, she says.

Nonetheless, and not surprisingly, Schriver’s early trauma continues to haunt her. “It bothers me tremendously whenever I hear about a child being molested, raped or murdered,” she says. “I wanted so much to use my knowledge and experience to bring children and animals together.”

Schriver knew that the ugly childhood memories would gnaw at her until she took direct action to help others in recovery from trauma. In 2004 she founded PAWWS — Passionate Animals Working With Survivors — to Heal, a nonprofit animal-assisted therapy organization for abused and physically disabled children.

The sudden death of Schriver’s brother-in-law left her sister back in Madison a single mother of two teenagers. So Schriver moved back to her hometown in September and brought PAWWS with her.

“The way the organization works is, a therapist tells us the goals of each particular child. We then select an animal or animals that we think will best help us achieve those goals,” she says.

At present, insurance costs are delaying PAWWS-Madison from seeing clients here. “The policy from California doesn’t cover us in Wisconsin, and insurance for a year is about $3,000. I’m working on funding to have insurance in place very soon,” she says.

When the insurance is settled, clients will be able to work interactively with Roxy, the shepherd-cross dog (who was hit by a bus in Oceanside, Calif., but is now a novice agility contender after Schriver’s intervention); Mousy, the 18-year-old cat (who had himself suffered abuse as a kitten); and Phoenix, the parrot (“...who has amazing speaking ability,” Schriver says).

Eventually, Schriver and an animal and human volunteer team will provide therapies for individuals, families or groups. “We focus 100 percent on providing emotional and mental health treatment,” she says. Her five-year plan includes an on-site ranch facility.

“That way we could have more animals available and an on-site therapist,” she says. “Children wouldn’t be limited to coming to the ranch for therapy — they could just come for a ‘ranch day’ and feed, groom or just hang out with the animals.

“This is so important to me. I would like to make a positive change in a child’s life so that child doesn’t have to struggle with a tragedy for many years,” she says. “Through animals, emotionally or physically traumatized children can develop trust, patience and a sense of safety, support and security so they can grow up to make good choices in life.”

Visit the PAWWS Web site for more information about PAWWS to Heal, volunteer work, or making a contribution.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Wisconsin-Madison. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Wisconsin-Madison. "Vet Tech Gives Back Healing To Animals, Abused Kids." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 February 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/02/060208185356.htm>.
University Of Wisconsin-Madison. (2006, February 9). Vet Tech Gives Back Healing To Animals, Abused Kids. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/02/060208185356.htm
University Of Wisconsin-Madison. "Vet Tech Gives Back Healing To Animals, Abused Kids." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/02/060208185356.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) A scandal involving bogus classes and inflated grades at the University of North Carolina was bigger than previously reported, a new investigation found. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins