“Empathy is important for the healer and the healing.”

Michele Martin is a Board Member of Simple Promise Farms. She believes in animal-assisted therapy because she grew up with horses and has raised and shown dogs. Michele understands that caring for animals and helping them thrive also benefits the human spirit.

Animals become our best friends.

Animals, Michele says, love us no matter what. This is why animal-assisted therapy works for all sorts of trauma. Caring for yourself and those in your life after living with addiction is tough. When you’re newly sober, re-connection often starts with safer relationships. Animals can be the right bridge to building those relationships.

Michele understands how to support families using empathy.

As a neonatal nurse, Michele made home visits with families experiencing post-birth trauma. Caring for whole families through birth and early-life showed her that families can heal together.

Family members affected by addiction suffer their own trauma.

Michele also knows addiction’s effect on families. She often stayed up worrying about her own grandson when he was deep in his addiction. She always rushed to answer the phone, hoping it was him when he was isolated from the family. She knows the fear, the anxiety, and the pain of losing hope and not knowing.

Michele also knows there is hope.

One day she picked up the phone and it was her grandson. He was ready to get clean for himself this time. She asked him where he was and went to pick him up.

Michele’s front row seat to the effectiveness of animal-assisted therapy made her certain that animals were the way.

Michele saw the impact on her grandson when he worked with horses. The ease of bonding with animals and the openness of animals encouraged an openness and a healing in him.

“When you reach out to animals, the support is reciprocal.”

For Michele, it’s not just the recovering individual who is going through trauma, it’s the whole family. She believes treatments must encourage empathy and bonding for everyone involved. Animals can show the way to opening up to each other again.

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