By Monday, August 7, 2017 12 No tags Permalink

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…


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. 


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 ❤️

  • All Things Collie
    August 7, 2017

    They now have therapy dogs sitting with children on the witness stand at court. (To make it a little less scary for them to testify)

    • Cathy Bennett
      August 11, 2017

      I saw that – I think I might let Harley keep the hospital and I’ll train Jaxson to do the court appointed therapy – I’ll keep you posted.

  • Emma
    August 7, 2017

    It’s great that helps people. Mom wishes if something should happen to her, she could have her own pets with her because they would be what she needed, but that isn’t usually allowed which is totally wrong.

    • Cathy Bennett
      August 11, 2017

      I know how your Mom feels – It’s probably because of sanity and safety reasons. Many people that we visit say the same thing – they wish their dogs could come and visit them too….
      PAWhaps one day the rules will change,

  • Cathy Armato
    August 7, 2017

    I’m always amazed at the effect Icy has on people during our therapy visits. She makes people smile and feel more calm just by visiting with them. She helps kids who struggle with reading just by being there and motivating them to read while they get to pet her. The staff is always happy to see her, in fact sometimes they kind of “hog” her time, LOL!! It’s so rewarding, and fun too! You must love having that job! I would love to have a job where I can see dogs all day long!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    • Cathy Bennett
      August 11, 2017

      I remember when Harley participated in the tutoring program when we lived in VA. I was A-mazed with the progress the children showed over time. Their reading truly improved. It was a wonderful experience.

      Yeppers – having a job that allows me to see dogs all day long is simply the best!

  • Monika & Sam
    August 9, 2017

    Congrats on the new work gig! Thanks for sharing info on your program. Too cool for patients and staff alike.

  • Anna @ happyjackrussell
    August 10, 2017

    Congratulations on your new job!

    There’s nothing more soothing than a lovable pooch to bring back a smile to your face, no matter the situation. It’s simply amazing what a positive effect it can have on all involved.
    Being able to help those that are ill and under a lot of pressure in such a way is a great responsibility and I can only imagine how hard it must sometimes be for the both of you.

    • Cathy Bennett
      August 10, 2017

      Anna – I think because we do it together – we’re able to focus on the joy He brings. He is really taking his job seriously and I enjoy watching the interaction between the two of them. It’s so rewarding.

  • Jan K
    August 12, 2017

    Congratulations on your new job! I think that sounds perfect for you. I love that these types of programs are expanding more and more to help people in many different stressful situations.

    • Cathy Bennett
      August 18, 2017

      I think it’s marvelous that more people are learning the benefits of have a pet around you – even if it’s only for a visit!

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