Lozère: with “Temps la patte”, thwarting disability through animal mediation

Lozère: with “Temps la patte”, thwarting disability through animal mediation

Basée à Montrodat, Margot Apert (g.) accompagne avec bienveillance ces rencontres hors du temps. Midi Libre – Sabrina Khenfer

La monitrice éducatrice Margot Apert est intervenante en médiation animale depuis septembre 2022 et elle sillonne les établissements de Lozère avec ses animaux.

It’s 2 p.m. at the Sainte-Angèle nursing home in Chirac. The establishment welcomes around twenty residents with mental disabilities or intellectual disabilities. Among them, Michèle, Valérie and Céline. Like every two weeks, the three women have a very special meeting; those they wouldn't miss for anything in the world.

A helping relationship

In a small room on the third floor Saphire, Eve, PanPan, Mickey and Caramel await them, a dog, a young cat, a rabbit and two guinea pigs, accompanied by Margot Apert. A trained educator instructor, the 26-year-old young woman explores the beneficial bonds that exist between humans and animals, particularly in a therapeutic, social and educational context.
"For a long time, I had wanted to work with animals but I couldn't find the job that suited me. I discovered a way to take care of humans, while developing an incredible helping relationship with my animals, who became my partners."< /p>

Margot intervenes in particular in nursing homes, in Institute of Motor Education (IEM) and in nursing homes, with fifteen of her 66 animals, chosen for their gentleness, their curiosity and their affinity with the beneficiaries . "But above all, they must appreciate this contact. There is no question of imposing it on them."

A multisensory language

A relationship of mutual respect for a formidable therapeutic tool, whether it is to channel, soothe or open up to the world. "It is proven that in the presence of an animal, the heart beats less quickly. We call on them, for example, in the legal context, with children who are questioned on complicated subjects."

Animals are also wonderful builders of self-confidence: "Birds, for example, are excellent at managing the fear of new things. They fly, land on you. They generate a lot of emotions. I take my parrot, Pipo, especially in IEM. It's rewarding for these young people when he chooses to land on one of them."

Animal mediation also offers a form of communication other than verbal, when this is difficult or impossible. The exchange becomes multisensory with touch, smell, a meow…hellip; "And above all, an animal does not judge. He takes people as they are and sometimes there is a magical bond that is created."

Soothing and stimulating

This is undeniably the case today in Sainte-Angèle. Valérie takes great pleasure in cutting pieces of vegetables to feed the rodents. Michèle only has eyes for Eve, whom she caresses with tenderness, telling her how beautiful she is.

An educational instructor within the establishment, Régine made these meetings possible by convincing the supervisory service to authorize the beneficiaries to take charge of the sessions: "< em>I have long been convinced of the virtues of contact with animals. I saw Michèle walking with a donkey on a lead, even though she had difficulty moving. Valérie, over the years, withdraws more and more, in her head, but also in her body. But when she is with the animals, she opens her hand, reaches out to caress them, feed them. She also opens up from the inside, you can see it in her eyes, her smile."

Céline is, we are told, still connected to 10,000 volts, "but here, she is immediately soothed." Margot Apert confirms: "During the first session, she made large, abrupt gestures and spoke loudly. Today, in the presence of animals, she channels her emotions more."

A visible and astonishing transformation which questions the intrinsic links which, no offense to Descartes and his animal-machine, undeniably unite us with the rest of life.

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