A Furry Future

Submitted on Tuesday, 03/15/2022 - 6:05 pm

Hull’s Piitaasaapii Indigenous Leadership Scholarship Recipient Plans on Incorporating Animals into Therapeutic Care


Kayley Kearney plans on introducing some new friends to the children, you and families we serve, fur friends that is.

Kayley, Educational Child and Youth Care Counsellor at William Roper Hull School, is our most recent Piitaasaapii Indigenous Leadership Scholarship recipient. Kayley will be furthering her education by attaining certification in Equine and Animal Assisted Therapy, and she couldn’t be prouder or more appreciative of the ability to advance her education while she continues to be a part of an Agency that recognizes the importance of Indigenous employees and their education.

“I am beyond excited to be awarded the Piitaasaapii Indigenous Leadership Scholarship,” says Kayley. “This scholarship shows the Agency’s commitment to encouraging Indigenous staff to grow and seek education so that they can better support both Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth and staff at the Agency.”

Kayley wants to be successful in incorporating this alternative counselling framework within her counselling practices, and this scholarship will give her the formal training she needs to do so.

Kayley chose this education because of her belief that animals are very beneficial when integrated into counselling. She believes an animal’s presence creates a peaceful space for individuals to heal as they explore emotions or events from their past and their present.

“By incorporating animals into counselling sessions, young people and families will be able to connect with themselves in the presence of a non-judgmental being that can provide insight into the individual’s inner state,” says Kayley. “This experience, in turn, allows the individual or family to reflect on these insights in the presence of an animal that provides emotional safety, unconditional positive regard, and empathy.”

Our relationship with our fur friends continues to grow and blossom as we learn more about how impactful they can be to our psychological well-being.  We are thrilled to watch Kayley’s future in supporting the children, youth, and families we serve through Equine and Animal Assisted Therapy.