WHO WE ARE
Healing Species was founded in Orangeburg, SC in 1999 when attorney Cheri Brown Thompson created the Violence Prevention/Intervention through Compassion Education™ curriculum, the first ever animal-assisted Violence-Prevention curriculum to be endorsed by a state board of education, in response to the discoveries she made during her legal studies in criminal law.
Focusing her studies on “depraved heart” criminals, Cheri became greatly troubled by the link between violence toward animals and violent crime in society – finding that 99% of convicted violent offenders were abused as children and, in turn, inflicted abuse on animals before committing violence against humans.
The relationship between previous abuse, animal cruelty, and perpetuated human violence led to a founding principle of Healing Species, which is to touch and help heal the heart of a child, invoking empathy – the missing emotion in many violent offenders.
Healing Species is the first Character Education program in the nation that blended teaching Social and Emotional Learning concepts with Humane Education AND included the assistance of RESCUED DOGS in classrooms.
The result is a nationally recognized, evidenced based, results driven program with chapters in Washington State, Connecticut, Rhode, Island, Florida, Maryland, South Carolina, New Zealand and Texas. Healing Species has also received the listing in the NREPP, Federal Government's Registry of Proven Effective Programs. The statistics for improved behaviors and academic outcomes are :
62% decrease in aggression
55% decrease in out of school suspensions
Overall increase in empathy based decision making
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Formal Definition of Humane Education:
From the Academy of Prosocial Learning
Humane education encourages cognitive, affective, and behavioral growth through personal development of critical thinking, problem solving, perspective taking, and empathy as it relates to people, animals, the planet, and the intersections among them.
Education taught through the lens of humane pedagogy supports more than knowledge acquisition, it allows learners to process personal values and choose prosocial behaviors aligned with those values.
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Why Rescued Dogs?
"Everything I know I've learned from dogs".
- Nora Roberts -
Either due to their limp, missing hair or story of survival, the rescued dog gives us all a reason to feel empathy.
Teaching children concepts and practices of courage, perseverance, loyalty, respect, individuality, calm leadership, resilience, compassion and advocacy, the rescued dog is a powerful inspiration and example.
Each dog in our program either online or in the classroom is able to reach even the most shut down children and bring the lessons to life.
meet the texas team
In 2010, the Texas Chapter of Healing Species was formed. Our work started with one of the most important program implementations for an organization; we started in the maximum security juvenile detention facilities of Harris and Montgomery Counties. Our first dogs were the most special duo of Bruno and Bear, who have since gotten their wings.
We have taught in Residential Treatment Centers, Juvenile Detention, Elementary, Middle, Jr. and High School Campuses, after - school programs and special needs schools. More importantly, we have been joined by some of the most amazing dogs and their wonderful rescuers. We have been grateful for the opportunity to do work that is meaningful, memorable and inspiring.