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Otter therapy helps sick kids - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Otter therapy helps sick kids

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VALLEY CENTER, Calif. -

At a California animal sanctuary otters and children are swimming together, but this isn't just a cute romp in the pool, it's a form of therapy.

Seven year-old Hannah Evans is having a great time with her two new friends, Poppy and Lilly. "It's at the pool, having fun, and it was like being so cute," Evans said.

Evans has a life-threatening gastrointestinal disorder. Her play pals are 'therapy otters' trained to interact with children with severe or terminal illnesses.

"It was awesome, the hands on experience with the animals has just been great," said Paul Evans, Hannah's Father.

The Make-a-Wish foundation arranged her visit to the animal sanctuary Nurtured by Nature.  

"The most important thing is to give them a positive day where they are free of thinking about maybe the pain or the illness, or the treatment that they're going through. It's super important to treat the psyche and to have a good outlook, especially when you're in pain or your sick or scared," said Kevin Yates, one of the organization's founders.

The swim gave Evans a boost. "The otters. That was really cute," she said.

It's a memory her parents say she'll carry close to her heart on days she needs comfort the most.

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