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Guidelines for Developing an Animal Facilitated Therapy Program

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General Benefits of Animal Facilitated Treatment in Medical
Rehabilitation Settings

SOCIALIZATION:

  • Interacting with dog, handler and therapist
  • Conversing with other patients about dog

COOPERATION:

  • Increased willingness to participate in
    treatment sessions

ADJUSTMENT:

  • Enhanced self-confidence; ability to direct dog
    and obtain desired response
  • Enhanced self-esteem; animal is non-judgmental
    creature

COMFORT:

  • Animal provides a warm, comforting presence,
    patient listener and relaxing interlude (particularly helpful with
    children)

Development Steps

  • Acquire written permission from Facility
    Administration

  • Prepare a program outline, policies and
    procedures and general treatment protocols

  • Contact local obedience classes and clubs,
    kennel clubs, breeders, trainers and veterinarians to recruit
    volunteers with appropriate dogs

  • Formulate a Volunteer Training Program

  • Establish an ‘Animal Evaluation System’
    (Temperament testing, health screening, obedience assessment,
    inventory of any "tricks" in the dog’s behavioral
    repertoire)

  • Educate staff by providing in-services, handouts.