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Patricia Kennie

Norwegian paddling clubs, trekking association, ski association and more, Norway

FluffyPoland - Patricia Kennie.jpeg

Patricia Kennie is a former environmental scientist originally from Canada who moved to Norway due to studies and work, then switched careers to instructor and guide of outdoor nature sports and adventure therapy taking new educations and certifications in this after surviving genetic cancer. She is presenting the novel idea of her Adventure Therapy Cat used in various Norwegian programs for children, youth and adults with various diagnoses in the Oslo nature, through many non-profit organisations. Fluffy is one of the very few certified therapy cats in Norway, and enjoys joining on adapted hikes for adult wheelchair users, refugees, kids with psychological development issues or trauma, programs for mental health, various patient groups such as cancer, and hikes from the national hospital, summer programs at cabins paddling kayaks or SUP for low-income families, and adapted padling for the disabled. The combination of adventure therapy (aka outdoor therapy or nature therapy) and pet therapy (also known as feline therapy, animal therapy, or animal-assisted interventions) is a novel concept despite both therapy types being more common on their own and can adapt to a wider range of users special needs and preferences and make outdoor therapeutic activities more pleasurably and provide comfort, emotional support, motivation, companionship and sense of belonging and more enjoyment to the participants. 

Animal Assisted Interventions in Norway in 2024: Adventure cats as therapy animals, for public health

Animal-assisted interventions and outdoor therapy or rehabilitation in nature with outdoor activities have become more common in recent years in many countries, including Norway. It can be anything from the use of dogs and cats as visiting animals or "reading animals" in nursing homes, old people's homes, rehabilitation centers and schools, equestrian therapy and farming as an alternative learning arena. Or arranged forest walks or other physical therapeutic activities for rehabilitation in nature, also together with animals and approved health personnel, for example, cat yoga in a park or cat walks in the nearby forest. Here we focus on a less common but growing phenomenon both in Norway and abroad, adventure cats as therapy animals. That is to say, cats that have been trained to enjoy low-threshold outdoor nature activities and sports with groups of different people, also who have been approved as visiting friends and therapy animals through personality assessment and a practical test, where the owner has also taken the necessary competence course in this. Cats can bring a lot of joy and cuddles and help with loneliness and depression and more, and can also be a motivation to get people with different health or life challenges or disabilities to participate more in outdoor life.

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