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United Recovery Project utilizes service animals for recovery process

dvm360dvm360 February 2023
Volume 54
Issue 2
Pages: 14

The residential addiction treatment center will have animal-assisted therapy for substance use disorders

Eva / stock.adobe.com

Eva / stock.adobe.com

The United Recovery Project (URP) is an addiction treatment center that was founded in Hollywood, FL, in 2016. The residential program was designed to provide all-inclusive treatments to clients to ensure each patient can have access to a customized suite of therapies that will best meet their needs. In an organizational release,1 URP announced it now offers animal-assisted therapy options for patients with substance use disorders. The animal therapy program is also a great success thanks to the partnership that United Recovery Project has formed with Blair Barone, MA, PsyD, and the Lucky Horse Sanctuary.

When people envision animal-assisted therapies, they often picture dogs, but URP's program includes many different species, including farm animals. Jean Hayes, PhD, manages the animal-assisted therapy program. She uses a large array of animals, including horses, rabbits, llamas, chickens, baby goats, and donkeys.

Animal-assisted therapy can offer support to people who are working to recover from a variety of physical, mental, and emotional health concerns, such as addictions and other co-occurring disorders. Animal-assisted therapy is usually paired with other forms of treatment, such as Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication.1 According to the release, United Recovery Project will use therapy animals in combination with other treatment protocols, hoping to add value to the patient's recovery journey.

Many substance use patients also suffer from various mental health issues like post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, etc, and service animals can provide these patients with more endorphins to improve overall mood and happiness.

To date, animal-assisted therapy has helped several patients at URP. Time with these animals can decrease aggression and restore a sense of balance. The United Recovery Project team has also seen recipients improve by taking on more emotional and social responsibilities.

United Recovery Project is currently undergoing efforts to expand its services to other states. To learn more about animal-assisted recovery or other therapy options, visit URP’s website.


United Recovery Project offers animal-assisted therapy to patients in recovery. News release. United Recovery Project. Published December 23, 2022. Accessed January 4, 2023. https://prnmedia.prnewswire.com/news-releases/united-recovery-project-offers-animal-assisted-therapy-to-patients-in-recovery-301709380.html

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