Animal-human interactions helping to heal traumas sustained by both at Shy Wolf Sanctuary

Humans and animals may seem worlds apart on most levels, but both can sustain trauma when confronted by war or physical abuse.


The Shy Wolf Sanctuary Education & Experience Center in Naples is partnering with a nonprofit supporting veterans and that shares a similar mission — helping to heal the unseen wounds of such traumas.


The nonprofit — Home Base Florida, which offers free resources to veterans, service members and their families — connected 14 veterans with Shy Wolf recently. They worked on service projects at the Collier County sanctuary and met animals who, like them, carry invisible wounds.


“They show people how to learn to trust again and recover from the abandonment, neglect or abuse and to share that love and that bond when they come up to the person or connect with the person,” Deanna Deppen, the executive director of Shy Wolf, said.


Through the Healing Hearts program, launched in 2015, Shy Wolf offers animal-assisted therapy to nonprofits that help people cope with physical ailments, mental illnesses and emotional disorders.


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