Use of animals in therapy for persons with disabilities

„Through working with an ORCA mentor and my volunteer work at ORCA, I received valuable information that helped me start my master’s thesis.” The support helped me a lot to design the topic, and especially the mentor’s guidance and the fact that she was available when I needed a consultaion, meant a lot to me.“

Pavle points out that his desire is to combine his profession – social work and animal welfare – through his master’s thesis. Through volunteer work in the ORCA organization, Pavle became familiar with the problems faced by animals. After completing his basic studies in social work, he decided to enroll in a master’s degree and chose the topic “Use of animals in therapy for persons with disabilities” for his master’s thesis.

In his master’s thesis, Pavle deals with a topic about which little is known. A large number of people think that pets are only there for entertainment and to keep us company. On the contrary, Pavle has the desire and will to prove and show that animals are very useful in therapy of people with disabilities.

Description of the topic of the master’s thesis

Research shows that animals like horses and dogs can affect our emotional, mental, psychological, and physical health. Their role in therapy is especially important. Today, various types of therapies using animals are used around the world, and give excellent results.

Animals are extremely useful in the therapy of children and adults with disabilities. Hippotherapy has a proven positive effect on improving the motor skills of people with impaired motor functions, and therapeutic riding contributes to the socialization and emotional development of children with cognitive disabilities.

The paper deals with the issues of using different types of animals for therapeutic purposes for people with different forms of disability (e.g. blind people, autism and other). The paper also investigates whether the use of animals for therapeutic purposes exists in Serbia, that is, what are the obstacles to the improvement of this field in Serbia.

About Pavle Dobričić

Pavle is a graduate social worker, and he is currently the fifth year of his master’s degree in Social Work and is writing his master’s thesis on the topic “Use of animals in therapy for persons with disabilities”.

Pavle considers social work to be his calling in life. His first contact with social protection and social work happened very early. As a 12-year-old boy, Pavle was moved from his primary family to a foster family.

Frequent visits to the center for social work and conversations with social workers made Pavle love this job. Just as he received kindness when he needed it, Pavle wants to give that kindness to others now. That’s why he decided on this humane calling.

In addition, Pavle loves animals. He graduated from the veterinary department in high school. As someone who has always had the desire to enroll in a school with programmes that are related to helping people or animals, it felt natural for Pavle to choose a topic that combines social work and animal welfare for his master’s thesis.

Pavle is also a tenant of the First Student Dormitory for future animal and nature protectors, opened by ORCA. The student dormitory was created when benefactor Ljubinka Vivčar donated her only real estate to ORCA in her will.

Donors helped to renovate the apartment and turn it into a student dormitory, so that future generations of young students, especially those from vulnerable categories, could successfully study without worrying about housing and contribute to the protection of animals and nature.

Read more about Pavle and his experiences living in a student dormitory here.

Pavle Dobričić
Graduated social worker