What Drives Us
The drive for FFR’s concept comes from personal experience within the mental health community. Our desire is to impact individuals early enough in the recovery process to make a significant difference in ongoing reliance on the healthcare system. While therapy dogs have been accepted as a beneficial component of recovery within hospitals, nursing homes and schools for many years, these services have rarely been extended to those challenged by developmental and mental illness. FFR provides a unique and personal recovery tool that fills many needs within mental health treatment and recovery.
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The idea of Furry Friends Recovery (FFR) started in the fall of 2012 after we witnessed the life saving powers of one very special dog first-hand. After much research into existing therapy dog groups, we realized that little attention was being given to the mental health community, so we set out on a mission to bring animal assisted therapy (AAT) to this population in need. AAT is a tool that helps people function more effectively as a part of their own recovery team.
By the fall of 2013, FFR was off the ground, but it had yet to begin providing services on a regular basis. That October, we found an advocate in the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Southwestern Illinois, who even paved the way to establishing regular visits in the behavioral health units at Gateway Regional Medical Center in Granite City, Illinois.
We found ourselves not only working with one of the biggest mental health support organizations in the country, but also working with a truly progressive hospital. We are now proudly serving multiple facilities, support groups and individuals in the St. Louis Metro Area.