About Farmability


'Farmability' - Animal Care Program



offers a unique experience interacting with and caring for animals, in a peaceful, natural environment.

This contact with animals can have a profound effect on people.

People with a disability often respond to animals, in ways they find difficult with people. Our Animal Enrichment Program is a great way to deliver therapy for those that find it difficult to open up to people. The benefits are endless and the results, often, outstanding.

Many people find it easier to form a relationship with an animal, developing empathy and a rapport with the animal very quickly. This tendency to bond with an animal is the basis of our 'Farmability' Animal Care Program.
Cuddling a duckling, collecting eggs, feeding the ducks, grooming a miniature cow or sheep, or walking a goat, it is a great way to deliver therapy. It relaxes the patient, allowing them to drop their inhibitions and open up more with the therapist.
Learning to care for animals can help to develop empathy and a sense of responsibility and caring among those may not have experienced that themselves.
In the case of equine-assisted therapy specifically, horses are very sensitive to human behaviour and respond to subtle changes in a person’s behaviour or mood. This feedback helps the person and the horse to work together to achieve their goals.
At Sunshine Butterflies, our menagerie of furry and feathered friends can help your child to heal under the guidance of our specialised team of animal experts.
Here at Sunshine Butterflies, our beautiful 5-acre peaceful oasis ‘Our Backyard’ at Cooroibah provides the perfect environment to deliver these therapy services.

Our 'Farmability' Animal Care Program uses the human-animal bond in goal-oriented interventions as an important part of the treatment process. Goals are set for each client, the interaction between animal and client is guided and the progress towards goals measured and evaluated.


Some of the benefits of our 'Farmability' Animal Care Program include:

  • An entertaining and novel way to engage a client in a programme – this can increase a client’s motivation to be involved and work on goals. (Holcomb & Meacham, 1989)
  • Patting an animal can have a calming and soothing effect. A study of Animal therapy in a paediatric hospital show that the animal therapy significantly improved the mood of children.
  • (Kaminski et al, 2002)
  • Animals are seen as non-judgemental companions and psychologically “safe” without the demands eg emotional, verbal etc of human companions (Biberman, J. 1981).
  • AAT pioneer, Samuel Corson said “a dog is a man’s best friend because he wags his tail and not his tongue.”
  • AAT has been shown to be helpful with children with autism - AAT with children with autism displayed fewer autistic behaviours ( eg spinning objects, humming/clicking, hand posturing) and more socially appropriate and engaging behaviour. (Redefer and Goodman) (1989)
  • Training a horse or dog can help skill development and improve self concept/self esteem. (Walsh and Mertin, 1994).
  • Caring for animals can help people to feel a sense of acceptance that is necessary for the development of self-worth and competence (Harris, J.)
  • Green Chimneys, which is a very established farm-based therapy programme, found that children (with behaviour/emotional problems) visited the farm animals more when they were sad/angry as it made them feel better.  (Mallon 1994a)

Meet our 'Farmability' Team: 





Madeleine Flynn

Bachelor of OT, Masters in Env Science (Animal Behaviour/Ecology),
Certificate in Animal-Assisted Therapy and Activities, Certificate 3 in Dog Training/Behaviour.







Sally Clay

Our resident 'Horse Whisperer', Sally Clay has a Certificate 1 in Australian Natural Horsemanship (Ken Faulkner), plus and  Parelli Natural Horsemanship Level 1 & 2 qualifications, plus a Certificate III in Agriculture and Dairy (Dairy Production), and is  a qualified Carer with a Certificate III in Community Care. 

Give us a call on 07 5470 2830, if you would like to book your place in this program, our any of our daily recreational, educational or life skills programs.


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