A pair of local residents are using their many years of experience as zoo keepers working with birds, native and exotic mammals, and reptiles to deliver up close animal encounters in a therapeutic setting.
Rosa Brook resident Rhonda and her partner Mike are both long-term former zoo keepers, and say working with animals is a privilege.
"Mike and I are passionate about animals and their environment," Rhonda said.
"We love to see the joy a close animal counter brings to people. We want to offer more people the opportunity to have the amazing comfort of the interaction with animals. This will provide a range of positive reactions and some amazing therapy to anyone, any culture at any age".
The pair said a desire to see people embrace the natural world led them to develop their program.
"After we left the Perth Zoo in 2016, we successfully ran an egg hatching education programme around Perth, for schools, age care, libraries, childcare and other events.
"We discovered a great need for animal therapy for many people in different walks of life. We were often asked, if we had any other animals, or talks, we could deliver, which gave us the idea to start up 'Meet the Animals'.
"We hear parents say they would like to see their kids off the computer and outside, then why not give them some responsibilities with ownership of animals. This can be achieved with any animal. We offer advice on which pet is suitable for the family and the care that is needed."
Rhonda said the program featured a good variety of mammals, birds and reptiles, for a close animal encounter experience.
"Through unconditional love with no judgement, touching, observing these animals, we can reach out to people to gain empathy, compassion and learn respect for the animal kingdom," she said.
"We find that people benefit by reduced anxiety, stimulation, happy memories, and much more healing, that we all need in this stressful life."
"Meet the Animals" supports, R U OK? and Beyond Blue, by wearing the Steel Blue WA Boots, and the duo said they were looking forward to working with local outreach groups to assist with mental health therapy.
"All our experiences make it perfect for aged care, childcare, special needs, home schooling, birthdays, group activities, events for any person or organisation, such as mental health awareness fund raising, Alzheimer's WA, Prisons, Silver Chain and much more.
"We also will be delivering a weekly 5-day egg hatching education programme, with a difference."
Rhonda and Mike will be taking bookings through their website at www.meettheanimals.com.au starting Tuesday December 10.