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By Shannon Kopp, Dr. Annie Petersen

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Reconnect to Recover: At its core, an eating disorder is a disease of disconnection—we disconnect from ourselves, from others, and from the present moment. Through animal-assisted therapy, as well as other therapies (yoga, journaling, art therapy), SoulPaws aims to create a pack of recovery and love that will remind us, particularly on the days we want to isolate, that we are never alone.

Eating disorders are complex, biologically-influenced disorders, often triggered by trauma. Anorexia, bulimia, binge-eating disorder and other types of eating disorders offer an illusory sense of protection—a temporary shield from pain and discomfort. This shield feels like it is protecting us, when in reality, we are being crushed under it’s weight.

To drop the shield means to get uncomfortable, and to engage in the most challenging work of our lives. The work of eating disorder recovery is all about learning how to feel love and pain head-on. Learning how to be a good friend to ourselves. Learning how to distance ourselves from eating disordered thoughts and form a more intimate relationship with our own soul.

We’re not meant to do this work alone. We need help. And SoulPaws is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created to offer you that support, in both human and animal form.


Spencer CW Au

Location San Diego Humane Society (Gaines Campus)
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal-assisted activities
  2. Animal-assisted therapies
  3. Birds
  4. Dogs
  5. Eating disorders
  6. Guinea pigs
  7. Health
  8. Horses
  9. Mammals
  10. nonprofit organizations
  11. Nutrition
  12. Pet ownership
  13. Schools