Free For All

On the classic television series, the loyal Lassie rescued her owner Timmy from a multitude of sticky situations. In real life, studies have shown that animals - specifically dogs and horses - can be used to provide therapeutic help, as well.

The Hoofs 'n' Paws Development Center, a new nonprofit animal therapy organization, is holding its Grand Open House this Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Evening Star Farm in Arvada. "There is a great emotional benefit from interacting with animals," says Renu Poduval, executive director of Hoofs 'n' Paws. "The practice has been around for quite a while and has been proven to be very beneficial to people with a lot of different types of disabilities, from physical to cognitive to developmental."

The Center, which opened in mid-January, offers therapeutic horseback riding and canine- and equine-assisted psychotherapy programs. At the Open House, families can meet the animals and attend demonstrations to learn, for instance, how to groom a horse. A fundraiser bake sale will also be held. "There is going to be lots going on," promises Poduval. "Animals really can stimulate conversation -- bring up strong feelings."

To get to Evening Star Farm, take Wadsworth Boulevard to West 88th Boulevard, then take 88th west past Standley Lake to Alkire Street, and go north to 8895 Alkire Street. For further information, call 720-581-3485.

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Julie Dunn
Contact: Julie Dunn