What are animal assisted interventions? –
Imagine you’re in the hospital. Your doctor mentions the hospital’s animal-assisted therapy program and asks if you’d be interested. You say yes, and your doctor arranges for someone to tell you more about the program. Soon after that, an assistance dog and its handler visit your hospital room. They stay for 10 or 15 minutes. You’re invited to pet the dog and ask the handler questions. After the visit, you realize you’re smiling. And you feel a little less tired and a bit more optimistic. You can’t wait to tell your family all about that charming canine. In fact, you’re already looking forward to the dog’s next visit. Source: Mayo Clinic
Pet Therapy Programs have grown in popularity. They’ve expanded far beyond just the hospital waiting rooms. Animals now assist with physical therapy, tutoring and disaster zones.
Airports bring in therapy animals during peak travel seasons to reduce the stress of overcrowded terminals.
Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) programs use animals in goal directed treatment sessions. These goals can be physical, mental, emotional and/or social…
Patients aren’t the only recipients of pet therapy. Nurses, physicians and medical staff have tremendous stress levels. Visits from dogs like Harley often help reduce some of that stress…
ANIMAL ASSISTED INTERVENTION –
a broad term commonly used to describe the utilization of animals beneficial to humans. Source: AVMA
Programs such as therapy, education and activities are examples of AAI –
- Therapy (AAT) – to facilitate healing and rehabilitation of patients with acute or chronic disease.
- Education (AAE) – planned and structured – directed and/or delivered by educational and related service professionals.
- Activities (AAA) – provide opportunities for motivation, education or recreation to enhance quality of life.
ANIMAL ASSISTED ACTIVITIES –
is the program Harley is affiliated with at MUSC. It is also my new place of employment! I spend an entire day working with incredible humans and adorable animals…
To watch animals bring smiles and visible signs of relief, relaxation, and comfort is a reward hard to describe.
Website information about AAI programs are plentiful. But be mindful – Regardless of the type of program, all animals should be temperament tested, given a complete veterinary screening, and receive obedience training before beginning to work with patients.
Sometimes with a pet, we can reach people that otherwise we cannot ❤️