DJ’s Words of Hope

Hear how Carl E Dahl House transformed DJ’s life for the better after hitting rock bottom and the words of encouragement he would tell anyone else who is struggling right now.

Why Brady Finally Made a Change

Brady shares his journey to recovery following 25 years of addiction and what finally made a difference for him. Hear in his words what he got out of working with the animals at Carl E Dahl House.

What Carl E Dahl House Is and Who They Serve

Hear staff share what makes Carl E Dahl House at Cass Farm so special. Plus, the crucial difference between them and other traditional recovery programs and the biggest thing that changes their clients for the better.

The Transformative Effect of Animals

Facilitators at Carl E Dahl House at Cass Farm explain what it’s like for their clients in recovery to come to the farm for the first time and exactly what the animals can uniquely offer that the human staff cannot.

AJ’s Breakthrough at the Farm

Hear AJ, a former addict, explain how the animals at Carl E Dahl House made a major difference in his recovery. And find out exactly what it is that made this experience so vastly different from the many other substance abuse treatment programs he’s tried in the past.

Carl E. Dahl House

Situated on a 40-acre hilltop in Athol, Massachusetts, the Carl E. Dahl House represents a departure from traditional approaches to substance abuse recovery. Here, residents learn to care for livestock and reconnect with the earth, while also receiving clinical support and recovery education.

Patients still receive individual counseling, group counseling and develop individual treatment plans, just as they would in another program. However, instead of sitting in classrooms or on therapists’ couches, these sessions happen in barns and pastures. As a result, the unique therapeutic farming program facilitates healing in a setting that feels more like a large family than a sterile clinic-based recovery program.

“The animals on the farm are the secret ingredient in our equation,” says Katie Follett, the therapeutic farm coordinator for the Dahl House. “Our animals don’t judge. They make no assumptions and have no interest in the mistakes a person has made in the past. Instead, they seek companionship and love.”

Purpose is built into every day, as residents combine counseling sessions with daily farm responsibilities. Farm staff provides all the necessary training and support, enabling clients to go to bed each night with a sense of accomplishment.

“Tasks that at first look like chores such as feeding, watering, grooming, and walking soon become expressions of empathy and compassion for another living being,” Katie explains. “Our animals play a vital role in helping our patients rediscover their self-worth as together they learn how to depend on each other.”

Like any working farm, at the Dahl House there are no days off. “It’s great practice for a person in recovery,” Katie insists. “Just as the farm and animals need care in rain, snow, or blistering heat, people in recovery must work their program every day, no matter what.”