Animals have long been used as part of therapeutic techniques, from everything to helping veterans recover from a serious injury, to helping inmates reintegrate back into society, such as “Pit Bulls and Parolees.” The bond that is shared between human and animal is unmistakable. As we are a working ranch, Rites of Passage NW has a handful of animals that live on the ranch.
Using animals as part of addiction treatment and therapy is two-fold; while caring for an animal does facilitate a deep emotional bond, the caretaker also learns a sense of autonomy and responsible. Many of our teens have never had the experience of taking care of an animal or life before. Being the sole provider and caretaker for an animal helps teach troubled teens responsibility.
We have several different types of animals living here at Rites of Passage NW, including dogs, chickens, and alpacas. While many people are not very familiar with alpacas, these wonderful creatures are the heart of our ranch.
An alpaca is a member of the camel family, and the first thing that comes to mind when the breed is mentioned is typically spiting. Yes, an alpaca does naturally spit, but a wise and patient caretaker can teach an alpaca not to spit. Similarly to how a teen can be taught not to use alcohol ad drugs, spitting is a habit that can be broken when taking care of an alpaca. Nurturing and kind, alpacas are also good companions, and we have found them to be very therapeutic while our teens are on the road to recovery.