Oklahoma 'Oasis' Takes Animal Therapy To New Level
OKLAHOMA CITY - We've all heard of therapy dogs and how they can help patients overcome various obstacles. But at Oasis Animal Adventures, there are all different kinds of critters who are impacting lives in Oklahoma.
Tori Anthis looks forward to her visits there. Each week she and other adults with developmental disabilities take a field trip to Disney Oklahoma and Oasis Animal Adventures, a place that's called the gateway to the heart.
"People just like to come and love on them and it just makes everybody feel very happy but the animals have a real magic with what they can do with people and their emotions and just the feel-good experience," said Linda Goldner.
Goldner and her husband Bill created the oasis to help others find joy through animal therapy, and at the Oasis Barn, you won't believe all the creatures you get to meet.
"We have mini horses, we have standard horses, we have donkeys but we also have a couple of camels that are both bottle-raised and sweet as can be and then we have a zebra who was also bottle raised. We have kangaroos, three adults and our little baby Rex," said Goldner.
"There's Riggs, whenever he was a baby I held him in my arms, keeping him warm, safe and loved. Did the same thing with Chatty, but Rosie was already full grown when I already met her so I did not know her as a baby," said Anthis.
Studies show animal therapy lowers anxiety and helps people relax. It reduces loneliness. It can help lower blood pressure and it can even help provide a bond that allows a client to feel connected and allows them to open up.
Rachel Morgan has a way with the animals and has been able to really connect, especially with Yancy the Yak.
"I've been reacting with him ever since he came so he's like a child of mine because I'm kind of like a surrogate mother. And most of these animals, I've known them since they were babies and it's just a thrill to actually get to come down here to work with them," said Morgan.
"So much fun to see them connect with the animal. Initially, they may be a little timid and think 'oh it's too much' but then as they get to interacting with the animal and know the animal is not going to hurt them, the animal is there to love them and to take care of them and the experience is pretty neat," said Goldner.
You can't visit the Oasis without meeting Omar the ring-tailed lemur. He was quite taken by our photographer and as Linda explained, Omar loves being the center of attention.
"All I had to do was provide the animal that they could interact with them and they leave here. I've had kids throw up their hands and say this is my happy place. It's a place of safety, a place of love and peace and it's very rewarding to see that everybody loves these animals," Goldner said.