Animals as Natural Therapy (ANT) offers healing programs for at-risk youth & veterans based on the knowledge that animals can teach humans important life skills: respect for self and others, trust-building, and clear communication. As a 501(c)3 non-profit, ANT operates out of Windy Acres, a one-hundred-year-old, 5-acre farm situated at the edge of Bellingham, WA in Northwest Washington. Windy Acres provides a peaceful, secluded spot for our animal and human partners to practice their healing work. Over the past two decades, ANT has touched the lives of thousands of children and adults.
ANT helps provide youth and veterans the chance to develop a deep self-confidence, leadership skills, and trust while discovering the effectiveness of honest communication and the contributions that they can make to society. ANT’s equine-based experiential methods are highly effective in helping overcome many personal challenges in areas such as impulse control, anger management, attachment, PTSD, grief and anxiety. ANT’s projects successfully aid in preventing school drop outs; avoiding repeated incarcerations; circumventing gang, prostitution or drug involvement; and preventing suicide attempts.
Many youth coming to ANT are being raised by grandparents, extended family, foster parents, or adoptive families because of unstable home lives to to parental mental disorders, addictions, and incarcerations. Some live in shelters or on couches. Many of the families struggle with dysfunctional and abusive relationships, unemployment, and sporadic housing.
The Vision of Animals as Natural Therapy
We see young people:
- Stepping into their emotional wholeness
- Developing healthy relationships with themselves and others
- Stepping into their authenticity and personal authority
- Discovering their intelligence and imagination
- Taking positions of responsibility and leadership within their families, social groups and the larger community.
We see elders:
- Come alive interacting with our youth and our animals.
We see veterans:
- Connecting their imagination and their hearts
- Finding a place in their families and within the larger community
ANT serves many different groups of people in our community from ages 3 to 100 in a variety of ways. Our clients are from many walks of life and come to us for a variety of reasons. About 90% of the people we serve are low income and many cannot afford the services we provide. Our goal is to not turn anyone away due to the inability to pay. We have developed a scholarship program to provide for those who need financial assistance and so far, we have met our goal every year. However, we could not do it without the generosity of the individuals and businesses in our community. To learn how you can help, please visit our Get Involved Page.