LLAMAS, PIGS, AND HORSES … OH, MY!
3 Unique Therapy Animals Everyone has heard of therapy dogs and cats, but did you know virtually any critter can be a therapy or support animal? Therapy animals help humans cope with PTSD, anxiety, depression, injury, high blood pressure, and chronic pain, as well as a wide range of other conditions and difficulties. Therapy animals range from guinea pigs that can fit in a purse to dolphins that swim with amputees. Here are three unique companions who make a difference in the lives of people who need them.
beneath his desk to pet Buttercup. Afterward,
Rojo the Llama
the child spoke to the class for the first time. “It was a remarkable breakthrough,” says Brady.
Mountain Peaks Therapy Llamas and Alpacas in Portland, Oregon, has conducted over 1,500 visits during the last decade and helps over 10,000 people each year. Their star llama, Rojo, is one of just 14 llamas registered as a therapy animal in the United States. Rojo’s exceptionally gentle temperament is calming to everyone who meets him. He’s so well-loved and has become such a big deal that he has his own Facebook page and two children’s books!
Rocky the Miniature Horse
Buttercup the Pot-Bellied Pig
At just 32 inches high and 325 pounds, Rocky packs a lot of cuteness into one small package. He’s not a pony but rather a breed of miniature horse historically used in coal mines in the 17th century. His specialty is working with retired veterans at the VA Community Living Center in Phoenix, Arizona, where the residents know him and look forward to his visits. For some, Rocky’s visits are bittersweet. “I wish I could have had more time to spend with horses,” says one veteran as he scratches Rocky’s ears. “There’s something calming about them.”
Lois Brady, a speech pathologist who works with special needs students in San Francisco, has a secret weapon in her arsenal: Buttercup, her black, 70-pound Vietnamese pot-bellied pig. His docile nature makes him the perfect companion for autistic children, who are often easily startled. Because Buttercup is an unusual sight in classrooms, children find him fascinating. In 2017, an autistic student who had never spoken to his classmates before felt compelled to crawl out from
TAKE A BREAK
Inspired by Food & Wine Magazine.
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3/4 cup popcorn kernels 2 tablespoons flaky sea salt 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds 2 teaspoons white sesame seeds
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2 teaspoons granulated garlic 2 teaspoons granulated onion
1/3 cup canola oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
In a small skillet over medium heat, toast sesame seeds. Shake skillet often and cook until white seeds are golden and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and add garlic, onion, and salt. In a large saucepan, combine popcorn kernels and oil. Cook over medium-
high heat, covered, until popcorn kernels start to pop. Once popping, continue cooking and shaking the pan intermittently until popping ceases, about 3–5 minutes. Transfer popcorn to a large mixing bowl. Pour in butter and toss to coat. Finally, add seasoning, toss again, and serve.
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