Animal Therapy in the UAE


Back in 2012, the United Arab Emirates started a nationwide animal therapy center called Sense. The initiative calls for the use of animals, from dogs, horses and donkeys to dolphins and birds, to help people who struggle with depression, anxiety and a variety of other psychological disorders.

Sense originally provided services to people in private homes but it has recently opened its gates to the public and now offers personalized treatment plans.

“There is a therapy animal for every case and need,” clinical psychologist Zahra Poonawala told The National. “For instance, for hyper[active] children, we bring fish, as by simply looking at them and meeting them, they calm down and start to focus. While grooming a horse would help motivate children with cerebral palsy through braiding a horse’s hair, feeding it, and would create recreational benefits as well. Leading a horse helps a child with low self-esteem improve and build on their leadership skills and self-confidence.”

Scientific evidence has shown that animal assisted therapy (AAT) helps people cope with medical conditions. According to studies, animals are proven to help people relax in situations that they would normally find difficult, assist children and adults with special needs in interacting with others and provide comfort to people who struggle with depression.

Aditi Sen, Founder of Sense
Aditi Sen, General Manager and Founder of Sense

Although AAT is commonly used around the globe, Sense is the first of its kind here in the region and the results are beyond astonishing. Children and adults are able to open up about trauma in a non-judgmental atmosphere with the help of gentle fur balls – or feathered friends and scaly creatures! Sense’s aim is to provide a safe haven for the animals as well as help those who are in need.

“I believe that animals are blessed with unique and special capabilities to heal people with their selfless love. They make the best doctors of the heart,” says Aditi Sen, the general manager and founder of Sense.

If you’d like to know more about Sense, you can contact them on +971 55 748 3178 or email them at


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