Our special lovely lady of the week, Sarah – pura chapina.
Sarah with her 6 pairs of Kakaw boots! Not all for her, some were to share as Christmas gifts 😉
1. Where are you from? (I always like to ask this question to people who have an interesting background, it’s a difficult one for me to answer myself so I find it interesting…)
My name is Sarah, and I was born in Guatemala to American parents originating from Mississippi and Arkansas. During my childhood we frequently visited our family in the US, but as the years passed Guatemala truly became our home. As a teenager I went to boarding school in the north eastern part of the US, and then attended college in Miami where I continued to live for a few years after graduating. I guess you could say I have influences of all kinds… some good ol’ southern roots, a bit of New Englander’s charm mixed with the rich Latin culture that I love so much. However, if I had to give you the short version I would say I am a proud Guatemalan.
Sarah and Quentin
2. The word out there is that you work with therapy dogs. For those of us not really familiar with how animals can be helpful in therapy, could you tell us how that works and what your role is?
I do work with therapy dogs and I love my job! I work at Fundación Waybi/Bocalán Guatemala, a non-profit organization. Our mission it is to improve the quality of life of people, helping them lead happier, more independent lives through our therapy and education programs, as well as our assistance dog program.
Our programs include Animal Assisted Interventions (AAI), these consist of Animal Assisted Therapies (AAT), Animal Assisted Education (AAE) and Animal Assisted Activities (AAA). AAT is the participation of a trained animal within a therapeutic process which is directed by a health professional, and is designed to promote improvement in physical, social, emotional and/or cognitive functioning. AAE is the inclusion of a trained animal in an educational program working with set objectives and directed by an education profesional, it facilitates learning by generating positive emotions. AAAs are planned activities with animals that have purely recreational purposes. We also train assistance dogs, these dogs are placed with individuals ranging from people with physical disabilities to children with Autism. I am a certified trainer and technician in AAIs and work alongside these health and education professionals.
3. We saw this lovely photo of you on Facebook. Just with that one shot we can see the calming effect animals can have on people, and the loving relationship that can develop between us (humans) and dogs. So, who is this giant teddy-bear looking fluff ball?
I love this picture! This is Quentin, he is one of many dogs we have at Fundación Waybi/Bocalán Guatemala. Quentin lives and works with me, I am his handler and trainer. “A giant teddy-bear looking fluff ball” is a perfect description of him! I’ve had the privilege of working with Quentin in many wonderful projects, from AAT with children with Down Syndrome, Autism and Cerebral Palsy to a fantastic AAE program in which we work at a school helping children learn mathematics in a fun way, generating positive emotions.
Quentin working at school
Research shows that people who are in a positive emotional state will be open to a learning experience, make more positive judgments and give more favorable feedback than someone in a negative state. I can tell you from personal experience, it is difficult to be in a negative state around Quentin! There truly is an incredible bond that develops between human beings and dogs, and it is with this knowledge that we endeavor to create and implement successful programs in an effort to better the lives of people through these amazing animals. To learn more about the programs and what we do, please visit us at www.fundacionwaybi.org or facebook.com/bocalanguatemala. You can also find more information about our certification course in AAI, as well as many other educational courses throughout the year.
Guess which boots she had custom-made! Not at all surprising that she chose the textile with DOGS….. you think she might like dogs a little bit? 😀 We do too!!!