To provide Animal Mediated Therapy to those who face both emotional and behavioral challenges and when possible, offer sanctuary to homeless animals until appropriate placements can be found.
Message from Farming Connectionís President, Gail Lilly
Having worked with children with behavioral and emotional challenges for most of my adult†life, I continue to be amazed at what powerful teachers farm animals can be. †While many of†the kids who come to†Farming Connections have a hard time trusting adults, they have no trouble trusting†the genuineness of an animalís behaviors.† Animals live in the moment.† They are excellent observers but they do not judge. If a kid wants to get close to an animal, breathing deeply, getting grounded or centered is the first step.† Learning to be patient,†to avoid quick, jerky movements and to stay in the here and now are musts. Being respectful of an animalís personal space is also key.†Kids quickly learn that they canít trick an animal and then expect it to allow closeness.† To work with a animal they must be genuine, communicate clearly and honestly.†A child who learns how to earn†an animalís trust and respect is a young person who has learned many invaluable lessons about how to be a trustworthy person.†Behavioral change can happen only in an environment†that is† perceived as safe.† Animal†behavior is what it is: nothing is contrived. This intrinsic nature of animals provides this elusive†ingredient of emotional safety allowing our kids to make the changes needed to help them develop into more fulfilled, joyful and†productive individuals.
Farming Connections has continued to grow and develop through input and support from interested individuals, companies, schools, families and local agencies.
Young people who might have remained suspicious, angry and depressed are learning to trust themselves and those around them.† The lessons learned at Farming Connections are ones that give young people the tools needed to become connected, contributing members of our society. †
I hope this website and the Farming Connectionsí blog serves to highlight what treasures animal-beings have to offer when structured activities and observations give them a chance to share their wisdom.
About Gail Lilly, President, Farming Connections, Inc.
Gail Lilly has a Bachelor's degree in both psychology and in Nursing. She has a Master's degree in Education with a specialty in
children with behavioral and emotional challenges. She is a member of the National Honor Society of Nursing. She has worked as a special education teacher, a psychiatric nurse, hospital administrator and as a principal
of a small elementary school. While Charge Nurse then Program Nurse of the Child and Adolescent Program at Brattleboro Retreat, Gail co-founded then co-led
the hospital-wide eating disorders in-patient and out-patient therapy groups. She was selected as a member of the Eating Disorder's professional team formed to
give multiple clinical presentations throughout New England.
Gail started riding when she was a young child and was given her own horse when she was 14. Her love of animals has been an abiding one. Prior to the opening of the stable here in Guilford, Gail became a Centered Riding Instructor following successful completion of the program's requirements. She has attended multiple educational clinics at Horse Power and has completed a course in psycho-educational vaulting. She has continued her own riding education through instruction from some of the area's finest equestrians.
About our Logo
Our logo is the Norse mythological eight-legged horse Sleipnir.
In Norse mythology, the fate of its heros was often linked to their animal partners. Odin relied on Sleipnirís abilities to travel swiftly in any direction, through the sky, water or even through the earth itself to help the humans in his charge. Odinís trust and loyalty to his horse as well as Sleipnirís devotion to and trust in Odin made them a team that could accomplish almost anything...
The respect for and reliance on animals by ancient peoples is suggested in other myths that tell of gods who could transform themselves into an animal should they need the strength, speed, cunning, courage or other ability possessed by that creature.
Though far removed from those ancient times, our fate is still inextricably linked with the fate of other creatures that inhabit the earth.
The work done at Farming Connections relies on lessons we can learn from nature and the animals around us. While not as fantastic as Odin and Sleipnir, the human-animal relationships formed here can help individuals reach goals that once seemed impossible.
Special thanks to:
|The William A. Morse Fund||Patrick Brown||Jaana Sheehan|
|Lightlife Foods||Dr. Nancy Cotton||Suzanne Bronson|
|The Hicks Foundation||Dr. Eric Barradale and Joan Barradale||Clyde Lilly, III|
|The Casey Family Foundation||Connie Baxter||Dolores Hulsey|
|Elizabeth Doiron||Greg Moschetti||Richard Ducette|
|Allison Thompson||Matthew Giddarie||Patricia Doiron|
|Dr. Pamela Sorton||Dr. Jessica Shepley||Dr. Ray Abney|
|Saryn Lauzon||Brattleboro Retreat||Deb and John Wellman|
|Timothy Hamilton||Susan Avery||Mary Ann Abney|
|Menda Waters||Jacqueline Emerson||Manjula Vemula|
|Realtor Youth Benefit Fund||Gary Lively||Rebecca Lively|
|Laurie Bayer||Steven Reynolds||Robert Mugnani|
|Annette Dykema||Natasha||Brattleboro Kiwanis|
What Our Teachers Teach
Hmmm... Not your average Teachers. Curious what our Farm animals are capable of teaching? Click Here
MaiMai and her daughter Sophia are two of the best donkeys ever. Curious, opinionated and loving, they greet visitors with enthusiasm. Sophia is training to help her father Fernando with donkey rides for small children. She doing very, very well!