The Howard family was struck a hard blow when Caleb Howard, at the age of 6, was in a head-on car accident. With broken bones and a traumatic brain injury, Caleb was confined to the hospital in a near lifeless state. His family wasn’t sure whether or not he’d be able to recover. His father, Ben, even opened up and said that at the beginning, because the brain injury was so severe and any progress was too tiny for them to see, he didn’t have much hope for Caleb’s recovery or survival.
Then Colonel came into the picture.
Colonel was trained as a therapy animal, used to help patients get better. Upon meeting with Colonel, Caleb immediately showed more awareness. Soon, this awareness turned into more physical displays of healing such as hand control, mobility, and overall mental health improvement.
Months later, Caleb was not only aware, but moving, throwing a ball, and talking on his own. Although the healing process might have still been possible, inviting Colonel to visit with Caleb pushed the healing process along much faster. Lisa Barnes, an occupational therapist, said that the main problem with some children in therapy is that they have to get the children, “motivated enough to move”. Putting an animal in the therapy environment gives them that motivation. At least that certainly seemed to be the case for Caleb.