By CBSNewYork Team

WALL TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Animal therapy during COVID helps with anxiety, fear and stress.

“Let the animals work their magic,” said JoAnn Burney, executive director of Allaire Community Farm.

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As CBS2’s Meg Baker reports, a donkey, an alpaca, goats, a horse and more are just a few of the more than 100 farm animals on Allaire Community Farm’s 25 acres.

“We have had the busiest year yet at Allaire Community Farm since COVID hit,” Burney said. “People just need to get out and breathe some fresh air.”

They get to pet and feed the friendly faces of the animals. It’s instant stress relief for parents and kids alike.

“You can’t not come here not smile, and that’s one of biggest, I think, benefits,” said mom Tracy Bean.

(credit: CBS2)

All of the animals at Allaire Community Farm are rescued, but many who volunteer and visit say the animals are the ones doing the rescuing.

Alex Bean, 14, is in his element amongst the goats who nuzzle him in his wheelchair.

“Alex is the biggest rock star ever because the animals love Alex,” said Tracy Bean.

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“They have an intuition. They can tell when you’re stressed. They can tell when you’re anxious. They can tell when you are said,” Burney said.

Nancy Forsyth is a certified therapeutic riding instructor. She has programs for veterans with PTSD, people with special needs and offers lessons to the general public.

“If you don’t ride or you don’t carriage drive, just being around the horse, petting it, grooming it is very, very relaxing,” Forsyth said.

The animals are providing a much needed boost for many feeling emotionally strained and socially isolated by the pandemic.

All are welcome on the farm – just wear your boots and your mask.

Allaire Community Farm is a nonprofit animal rescue with a focus on the special needs population, at risk teens, veterans with PTSD.

The farm provides baskets of food to families with loved ones battling cancer and, new this year, to families in need due to COVID.

For more information, CLICK HERE.

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CBS2’s Meg Baker contributed to this report. 

CBSNewYork Team