Comfort Critters are the animals that bring comfort, connection, relaxation and smiles to children facing life-threatening illnesses.
As a child’s mobility is limited by cancer or other life threatening disease, so is their ability to enjoy life the way they once knew. The simple joys of everyday childhood activities, like playing outside and riding bikes, becomes challenging and even impossible. Parents, family and friends struggle for ways to engage and connect, as the child they love becomes bored and withdrawn, even angry and depressed.
Comfort Critters provide comfort, while often engaging the child to communicate and become more interactive and responsive. Their presence can reduce anxiety, even pain, increase calmness, bring a sense of peace and offer children something to look forward to that they can do.
We are not a traditional Therapy Animal or Animal Assisted Therapy program. At Peyton’s Ranch, the animal interaction is the therapy. Our service is patient-centered, based on the unique needs and wishes of each child and family. For some children, bringing a bunny, hamster or guinea pig to visit them at home is a comforting and rewarding experience. Others are able to enjoy visiting with animals on the farm or even riding on horseback.
Service is generously provided by animal loving volunteers, organizations and local children’s farms. Visit our Volunteer page to learn more about how you can become a Comfort Critter Volunteer or service provider.
Our Comfort Critter program was inspired by the animals and people who shared them with Peyton during her illness. Their extraordinary efforts and kindness embody the spirit of Peyton’s Ranch. Each animal and experience was unique and special to Peyton, a true example of a Comfort Critter. Her love for these animals was always there, but it wasn’t until she became ill that she needed them most. You can read more about Comfort Critters Stories here.