Canine Assisted Therapy & Activities

There has been increasing awareness, particularly over the last thirty years, of how canine assisted activities and therapy might be utilized to improve the quality of life, as well as the treatment outcomes, for individuals. Historically, animal assisted activities has referred to the ‘meet and greet” programs in which animals visit patients in hospitals, or nursing homes, providing patients with an opportunity to pet and socialize with a friendly animal and handler. Animal assisted therapy is the deliberate and systematic use of animals in professional care plans, to help patients reach defined treatment goals. They are used to help normalize situations, socialize, calm and motivate patients. Dogs are particularly well suited to this work because of their long history of living and working with humans, and the ease with which we are able to train them. Some populations that have benefited from canine assisted activities and therapy include: nursing home patients, shelter residents, prison inmates, including juvenile delinquents, hospice clients and their families, special education students, including autistic children; and both acute care and rehab hospital patients



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