Work with Animals

Animals are amazing sentient beings. They have a physical and psychological sensibility, which allows them – in the same way as humans – to experience pain and pleasure. It is certain that animals naturally seek, by all means available to them, to avoid painful experiences.

Research shows that music can affect an animal’s mood in much the same way it affects us. When dogs, cats, cows, horses and other species hear classical music, it has a soothing effect and they become relaxed. Loud, thrashing heavy metal music has shown to rile them up, making them anxious and agitated.

In my harp playing, I have found that the animals will actually come closer to me, both out of curiosity and to be closer to the music. Of course, sometimes they will race away from me. I try not to take it personally.

Monique. In loving memory.
Conrad. In loving memory.

Since qualifying as a therapeutic harpist in 2018 I have mostly been working with domestic, farmed animals and wildlife. The animals I work with are often traumatised and fearful.

I have worked at different wildlife shelters and currently volunteer at Edgar’s Mission, a rescued farmed animal sanctuary.

The fundamentals of working with animals are not too dissimilar to working with humans – the intent, compassion, observation and willingness to play what is best for them in that moment is the same.

When I arrive at an animal shelter or sanctuary the carers usually have someone in mind for me to visit. Often it is a traumatised new arrival who may or may not be trusting of humans. It might be a resident who has become unwell or someone who has lost a companion. The types of scenarios are endless and often unthinkable.

In finding and maintaining the appropriate rhythm, sound and tempo they may feel a sense of safety and are benefitted by being cradled in sound.

“Every session is its own new adventure for us all.”


Turkey family

Edgar's Mission Rescue

Video of Dolly, abandoned with severe mastitis, and her transformation

Here is Dolly 2 days after a double mastectomy (to save her life) and harp therapy

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