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Arizona woman draws inspiration from her own pets in developing new therapy device

Exceptional HEROES
Posted at 11:22 AM, Aug 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-24 02:19:11-04

GOODYEAR, AZ — A local woman hopes to help those struggling with mental health issues with new therapy devices that are modeled her own therapy pets, who she credits with helping save her life after a traumatic event.

Savanna Palafox and her mother, Georgie Palafox, have a patent pending for Exceptional HEROES — therapeutic devices that resemble Savanna's therapy rabbit, Monroe, and her therapy dog, Shelby.

Savanna says it was her own personal tragedy that led her to want to help others struggling with mental health. The 22-year-old, who studied psychology and human development at Colorado State University, says she is a survivor of sexual assault.

Following the trauma, she relied on her therapy animals to help her with PTSD.

"Monroe actually saved my life when I was in college after my sexual assault," Savanna Palafox said. "He helped me, and he was my hero the whole time, and he helps exceptional people, so it just only fit to have Exceptional HEROES as the name."

Palafox and her mother worked with mental health professionals to use different technologies to create the devices. They simulate five of the seven senses and help those with emotional or mental conditions, including anxiety, autism and ADHD.

The devices also are weighted for pressure therapy to help manage anxiety and other similar disorders. The device modeled after Monroe the rabbit weighs four pounds, and the one modeled after Shelby the dog weighs eight pounds.

Exceptional HEROES dogs

The product is expected to be available at the beginning of 2022.

As for Savanna Palafox, part of her healing is helping others, and she hopes that her companions will help others struggling.

"There's hurting people out there, there's a lot of hurting people, we didn't have anybody when (Savanna) came home," Georgie Palafox said.

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This story was originally published by Nicole Grigg on Scripps station KNXV in Phoenix.