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Our Animal Assisted Therapy Program is currently on haitus, but our goal is to bring it back as soon as possible. Please reach out to kaleigh@charliesacres.org if you’d like to get involved.


Over the past 10 years, Animal Assisted Therapy has gained immense popularity amongst mental health professionals. Today, research continues to flourish surrounding the positive impacts of this empirically supported intervention.

Benefits of Animal Assisted Therapy:

– Decrease in depression and anxiety symptoms
– Lower heart rate and blood pressure
– Increase in empathy and compassion
– Improvement in communication and social skills
– Increase in positive mood
– Higher self-esteem
– Improvement in interpersonal relationships
– Increase in trustworthiness through nonjudgmental connection
– Reduced feelings of loneliness and isolation
– Mutually beneficial for nonhuman animals

Who is Animal Assisted Therapy for?

– At-risk youth
– Individuals with mental health challenges
– Clients in treatment for substance abuse
– Seniors
– Hospitalized patients
– Individuals with special needs
– Those who have experienced grief/loss
– Individuals with social/cognitive/learning impairment
– First responders
– Mental health providers
– Can be tailored to individuals or group populations



Brenda Rynders has spent the last five years as a graduate student, earning her first Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, her second Master’s degree in Anthrozoology and is currently completing her certification for animal assisted psychotherapy. She has a demonstrated passion for farmed animal welfare and animal assisted therapy and has completed a Master's level internship utilizing animal assisted therapy with at-risk youth and adults with special needs. Brenda also has an extensive professional background in the fields of veterinary medicine and clinical counseling and has used this knowledge to expand upon her practice of trauma-informed care in her work with both human and non-human animals.

Brenda Rynders