PIG THERAPY FOR STUDENTS IN LONDON
ANIMAL ASSISTED THERAPY IN THE UK
Animal assisted therapy has been around for many years, both in the UK and abroad. Many different animals have been used for this purpose from dogs, horses and ponies. However, pigs have never been used as Therapy in the UK and, to date, there is no UK Certification body to register and train pigs as animal assistants.
The Pigfather’s Miniature Pigs Holly and Polly are second generation of Therapy Mini Pigs in the UK.
Following on from our success with Mikey and Sunny, the UK’s First Certified Therapy Pigs, who have undergone an extensive 1 year Mini Pig Therapy Training Programme with the American Mini Pig Association, we have started training our little piglets Holly and Polly to follow Mikey and Sunny’s footsteps.
THERAPY PIGS FOR LONDON BASED STUDENTS
The piglets are learning fast how to be calm around groups of people without becoming distressed or scared. In addition, the girls need to understand boundaries in behaviour, what is acceptable and what is not. Understanding pig behaviour and hierarchy is paramount in order to establish clear rules and leadership so essential for well-behaved pigs! This takes time, dedication and consistency, building on mutual trust and respect along with strong leadership as pigs do like to take matters into their own trotters! More about the Intelligence of Pigs can be found on our page Are Pigs Intelligent Animals.
In March 2019 we were asked if we could provide Therapy Pigs for some London based students, to help them relax and unwind in –between their studies and to help distress post exams. Upon arrival, it was great to notice the amazement on the students’ faces as many of them had never seen a pig before, coming from cities around the world.
After an initial brief introduction into Miniature Pigs, their origins, behaviour and other interesting facts, the students had a chance to get inside the pen with the piglets
“TEA-CUP” THERAPY PIGS?
Holly and Polly are our 4.5 months old Miniature Piglets (in March 2019), or Micro Pigs, as many people in the UK often refer to them. Stroking, scratching and observing the little piglets busy themselves around the pen, brought so much joy to the undergraduate students. Having a day off from their studies, many opted to come down to the lounge to see The Pigfather’ Mini Pigs and they had such a relaxing time! It was so quiet in the room as the students fully absorbed themselves into the animal therapy, making it easy to want to go to sleep!
Many people asked if they were “Tea cup” fully grown pigs! We explained that, although Holly and Polly are quite small crossbreeds, they will eventually grow and become the size of a small Labrador, but could be heavier in weight. It was rewarding to educate the students about true miniature pig facts and remove the myth that micro pigs will always remain tea cup size!
CUDDLING HOLLY AND POLLY- AN ICING ON A CAKE!
The students from another campus were very lucky to be able to hold Holly and Polly and cradle them like babies – an experience they would never forget. It’ worth mentioning that generally piglets do not like being picked up. Being prey by nature, they would usually get scared of someone approaching and trying to pick them up or restrain them in any way. This is a natural way of survival in the wild. However, having been brought up in a loving home, Holly and Polly, have always enjoyed cuddle times with our children since they were very young piglets, which was mutually beneficial.
The students loved picking up and cuddling the cute little piglets and the piglets enjoyed the attention and the warmth that the experience provided. All in all, what a special Therapeutic Visit it was!