Who we are
Proven scientifically. Practiced with love.
delfine therapieren menschen e.V. is a unique, not-for-profit aid organization based in Germany. We help children and adults with physical and mental special needs to take part in an animal-assisted therapy with dolphins. In 1996, the organization was founded in Düsseldorf under the name of dolphin aid e.V. In 2020, it was renamed “delfine therapieren menschen”. Since our foundation, we have supported more than 4,500 people in this intensive therapy.
We provide very personal and individual support for our patients throughout every phase of their process, we inform about the therapy and provide support for financing through donations. We are happy to organize the complete therapy process and take care of the travel and accommodation bookings.
The therapy concept we have developed is based on the welfare and species-appropriate living conditions of the dolphins. The families of our patients play a major role in the entire rehabilitation process and will therefore be closely integrated into the therapy on location. Moreover, the concept is interdisciplinary and so, depending on the clinical presentation, psychologists as well as physiotherapists and occupational therapists may be involved in therapy in addition to the animal trainer. Another vital aspect is the uninhibited interaction between dolphin and patient. We take a holistic approach to patients who are seen and treated as a whole person. The therapy is aimed at activating and improving existing skills.
This concept gets put into practice in the Curaçao Dolphin Therapy & Research Center treatment facility, a qualified therapy center partnering with “delfine therapieren menschen“. The Island Dolphin Care in Key Largo/Florida is another partner collaborating with our organization.
The efficacy of dolphin-assisted therapy was shown as early as 2003 in an independent European study. Several subsequent studies have since confirmed the positive and sustainable effects of this therapy.
The history of “delfine therapieren menschen” is inseparably connected to Tim’s story. In 1994, two-year-old Tim drowned in an unsupervised swimming pool. Emergency doctors brought him back to his physical life. But, alas, this life was surrounded by a wall. Tim remained in unresponsive wakefulness, also known as vigil coma. The desperate family’s last hope: an intensive animal-assisted therapy with dolphins in Florida. The dolphins were in fact able to break through the wall and Tim awoke from the coma. Tim’s return to life marked the birth of dolphin aid – founded by Tim’s mother, Kirsten Kunert.
What drives us
Tim’s fate and the touching success stories of so many children we have accompanied in our longstanding work are our driving force and motivation. The intensive animal-assisted therapy with dolphins not only offers hope for a more self-reliant way of life. It will indeed often be the starting point for a follow-up with conventional medical therapy that had not been possible before.
It is our wish that every child and adult concerned can participate in a dolphin therapy program. We support families in their process and accompany them with our expertise and decades of experience.