Justin Matzner – Island Dolphin Care

For the next several weeks, I will be interning at Island Dolphin Care (IDC), a non-profit organization in Key Largo, Florida. As a Therapy Intern at Island Dolphin Care, I am excited to gain more education in the practice of animal assisted therapy, specifically with dolphins, to help children and families with special needs, as well as veterans in the United States military living with PTSD. Throughout this unique internship experience, I am eager to learn about working with dolphins and a diverse group of clients with critical illnesses and disabilities during therapy sessions, while also understanding documentation and aiding the therapy staff in various therapeutic activities for participants. I am thrilled to apply my skills and knowledge I have gained in occupational therapy classes, as well as learn new skills with the therapy team at IDC. I am also looking forward to having the opportunity to learn a unique aspect of therapy with the inclusion of dolphins and to enhance my professional skills while interacting with families, staff, and the marine life. Dolphins have amazing social skills, create bonds, and are extremely intelligent, which I am excited to encounter during therapy sessions with clients. I also look forward to gaining more knowledge in marine science and its importance with the institute. 

This experience will impact my career path by allowing me to become familiar with a growing area of practice in occupational therapy. Completing this internship will help me gain more skill development in patient care, professional and career growth, and a network of individuals who are established in the field and can mentor me professionally. Animal assisted therapy has always been interesting to me as I have a passion for animals, especially with the inclusion of dolphins. This internship will help me grow as an individual and will allow me to share the values I have learned from my education at the University of Scranton and the Occupational Therapy Department. 

Justin Matzner, Occupational Therapy


9 Replies to “Justin Matzner – Island Dolphin Care”

  1. Justin, it sounds like you found a really unique internship. It is so hard to find internships that can make you stand out, and being that there aren’t many places that offer this therapy, it will really help you in your journey to become an OT.

  2. Justin,
    I’m excited that you are able to have this experience at Island Dolphin Care. It is going to be a summer of learning and growing, while putting some of your skills into practice and enabling you to learn new skills. You are serving individuals who are going to benefit greatly from this type pf therapy, and that in and of itself is very rewarding! I’m looking forward to hearing more about your internship!

  3. Justin, this is an awesome experience! When I was a student at Scranton, I knew a few peers who were OT and also did an internship “with the dolphins” as it was known. They came back with great stories and experiences. Can’t wait to hear more this summer!

    –Melissa Przewlocki, Assistant Director, Career Development

  4. Justin, this is such a cool opportunity for an OT major! I’m curious to see if you will continue to work with animals after graduation, or if this is a special opportunity for you just this year. Dolphins are really incredible animals, and I had no idea they could be used for therapy! I hope to see a lot of cute pictures in your second blog!!

  5. Justin, this might be the coolest internship I have ever read about because this is the first time I am hearing about pet-therapy with dolphins! This sounds like a great opportunity for you to assist people in need in such a unique way. I am so jealous of your experience with working with dolphins and I hope to read more about this soon!

  6. Justin, this internship sounds truly remarkable and exciting! I greatly admire your passion for utilizing animal-assisted care to help people with critical illnesses and disabilities. It is very inspiring! The work that you perform has a positively profound impact as you assist those in need in a very unique way. Thank you for sharing your experience so far and these adorable dolphin pictures. I am really looking forward to hearing more about your internship work throughout the summer and wish you the best of luck on your journey!

  7. Justin,
    Wow! I have yet to hear about an internship like yours. I am sure you will gain unique experiences that are hard to get anywhere else. I am excited to hear more about your internship and how the experience will shape your career development. Having the opportunity to apply knowledge learned from class is exciting, and I hope this internship allows you to build on your professional skills!

  8. Justin, this sounds like a really unique and exciting experience! I’ve never heard of anyone doing an internship like this, and it sounds like a fun and engaging way to get real hands-on experience. Best of luck for the rest of the summer!

  9. Justin,

    This internship experience sounds absolutely amazing! You are so hardworking and dedicated to your patients, and this sounds like an incredibly rewarding way to hone your OT skills. Animal-assisted therapy is such an interesting and unique form of treatment, and I think it is wonderful that you can use it to help those with special needs and PTSD. What a wonderful way to give back, especially to those who served our country! I hope that your experience continues to be as great as it has been so far, and best of luck to you!

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