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Animal Healers

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Summary

A look at the teachings of Green Chimneys in New York, where children learn alongside rehabilitated animals.

Green Chimneys is a special school 65 miles north of New York City, catering for children with emotional, behavioural, social and learning challenges. Central to its ethos is a belief in the therapeutic power of interaction between children and animals.

Over half the pupils board, and as well as being a school, Green Chimneys has a residential treatment centre, a 165 acre farm with 200 farm animals, and a wildlife rehabilitation centre.

Assistance-dog training classes are one example of the way animal-related activities are woven into daily life. The dogs learn new skills, while their trainers - the pupils - learn how to bond with other living things.

At the wildlife centre, pupils help to release a red-tailed hawk back into the wild. They are learning that, just like the bird, they too will be one day healed and return to their homes.

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