LanzÁnimal is a Lanzarote-based non-profit association that was started to combine both animal and social welfare
In 2019, three brave women started a sanctuary for farm animals they had rescued from horrendous living conditions. Valentina Costantino, who is in charge of the daily care of the animals and their facilities, explains; ‘We are not only concerned with animal welfare but also social welfare. The animals are rehabilitated so they can participate in assisted animal therapy projects with groups of disadvantaged people. Forming a bond with humans helps the animals to become affectionate and sociable.’
Verónica Pillón is the founder and chairperson of LanzÁnimal. She has been involved in animal rescue in Lanzarote for years and is as dedicated as ever when it comes to fostering and caring for them. She is a dog trainer, animal behaviourist and specialist in assisted interventions with farm animals. She is responsible for the day-to-day care of the animals, coordinates the volunteers, whose support is fundamental, and manages the doggy day-care centre, the organisation’s main source of funding.’
Her colleague, Valentina Costantino, describes herself as; ‘A city girl! But when I got to know the farm and project, I fell in love with it and decided to study and get a degree in assisted interventions with farm animals. Estefanía Carro Martín is our veterinary assistant. She is in charge of organising visitor activities. Our assisted therapies,’ Costantino points out, ‘are aimed at helping people in need, such as children affected by autism, Asperger’s or ADHD, the elderly, people with mental illnesses, and so on. We contact associations on the island and offer them the chance to benefit from the good that a bond with animals brings. As well as being an antidote to loneliness, depression and boredom, it reduces anxiety, and stress and generates motivation.
Of course,’ she continues, ‘there is also an educational side to our work. We receive visits from schools, students and private families keen to interact with our animals. In many cases, they have only ever experienced them on TV. We give them the chance to play with the animals, talk to them, feed them, pet them, brush their fur etc.’
‘We also have a project that aims to reconnect people with nature, called ‘Granja (Des)Connection’, which includes activities such as open-air yoga, and a laughter therapy workshop. From September onwards we’re introducing more events in the hope of raising awareness about our farm and our work and raising vital funds, too.’