Hello and welcome to Animals and Aquatics. I'm Gina, your host. I'm an occupational therapist, a sleep deprived mom of three, and a lover of all things outdoors. And I wanna kick off our inaugural episode here by sharing a little bit about my background and how we got to host this podcast. So I grew up in love with horses as a little girl. I loved all animals, but was really drawn to horses Competing and participating with my horses. And when it came time to go to college, I said to my parents, I wanna go to horse college. And luckily they believed in me. As much as I believed in my dreams and I did get an undergraduate degree in equine studies, I went to AverettUniversity where I met my now husband. I had a wonderful experience, really learning a lot about horses and learning a lot of fundamentals that would serve me later on. But I would say one of the hardest transitions was then during my graduate interviews and explaining how an undergraduate degree in equine studies had anything to do with occupational therapy. But I knew that I wanted to incorporate hippotherapy into my future occupational therapy practice, and I was passionate about it, and I advocated for it, and I explained it to the admissions officers and said, you know, I, I know what I wanna do. I know why I am here. And I think that was enough because my graduate degree is in occupational therapy, and choosing occupational therapy really was the right match for me. That holistic background in ot, that component of mental health was everything that I wanted to provide as a practitioner. And although I may specialize in hippotherapy that. The whole of what my practice was going to be. So as a new grad, that was the area. Hippotherapy was the area that I specialized in becoming a hippotherapy clinical specialist, becoming a faculty member for the American Hippotherapy Association, teaching around the world about hippotherapy. It's really been an amazing journey. But I would say it's, it's only part of the puzzle because my love of nature and being outside and hiking and having my own children and seeing what nature could offer for them, really brought it for a full circle when I decided to go into private practice. And that was really the opportunity to go ahead and start to incorporate alpacas. We now have therapy goats that have really been wonderful in our OT sessions. And we have a bearded dragon named Suki, where we do story time with Suki, which is a social skills program. So we do have a variety of experience with different animals that we've incorporated into occupational therapy session. And my husband, his name is Ryan, and he will be your co-host for All Things Aquatic. We'll really be touching base on aquatics, but not just the way we think of maybe occupational therapy and aquatics in a pool, but also things like fly fishing, standup paddle boarding kayaking and using the ocean in the beach setting in occupational therapy. So when we say aquatics, we really mean. A wide range of all things aquatics, and the reason why we decided to share our perspective and why we think that a podcast on animals and aquatics in occupational therapy matters is because the OT perspective matters. I feel like as we started to look around for resources, there were more re. Resources from the physical therapy perspective, and there were resources out there that kind of gave some nuts and bolts information, but that didn't really have that holistic OT view. So we really feel that we're able to bring a more holistic. Perspective to building a career around animals and aquatics in ot. After all we've done it from the bottom up. We've had all of the experiences of finding facilities to partner with. You know, how do you use hippotherapy if you don't? Own a horse. How do you incorporate aquatics into your OT practice if you don't have a pool in your backyard? We've, we've managed to negotiate all those things and we'd like to share our process with you. We wanted to serve as a resource for the things that we couldn't find answers to. Like what are good activities to do with alpacas or what do you wear when you're in the pool for three hours with clients? I am someone. Always cold and I really had a concern about like, I'm gonna freeze in the pool so, We wanna be your resource for practical matters too. Not just that more broad perspective, but for the practical matters of putting together your career when it includes animals or aquatics. And we want to be able to inspire OT and OTA students to create careers in the OT field that serve their clients, but also. Serve yourself that light you up that are really what you dreamed of when you started to imagine working with others. We wanna be the guide by your side for OTs and OTAs who want more out of their career and know that getting closer to nature can really bring them there. That component of including animals and including aquatics into your career will really bring you closer to what you imagined when you thought about. Working with your desired population. We primarily work with children and teens, but we will talk about some other populations as well because we know that you know, with older folks, the animals can be wonderful. Getting them in the pool can also be a great opportunity. We'll also have guests that will be coming on. So a little bit about what this podcast is going to look like. It's going to be a real beautiful mix of insights, interviews, and honesty. Animals and aquatics in OT is gonna be a place where we can share cool and creative things that we've adapted for pool time or a new great resource that we created for working with our therapy goats. One of our favorite activities is Yum, yuck with the goats. And it's great for a lot of our clients in reading body language and getting a better perspective. It also is wonderful for. Looking at feeding and eating goals. So those are the types of resources that we hope to share with you. We'll be bringing on others to inspire you and answer common questions on creating a career that's focused around animals or aquatics in OT. And we wanna be your real deal companion as you start to imagine yourself in a new role as an occupational therapy provider. You should look for us for new episodes every week on Tuesdays. So if you liked our kickoff episode, be sure to subscribe to the podcast and leave us a review so that other OT providers can find us. Thank you.