K-9 Buddies, Inc.
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This is a term that is most often used to describe a program in which a trained dog and handler team works with doctors, or other medical practicioners, to perform specified tasks to aid in the rehabilitation of a patient. However, a visiting dog often provides a "theraputic" service just by it's presence. A perfect example was a recent situaiton in which a staff member at a facility we were visiting had been very afraid of dogs since childhood, almost phobic. As she observed many people interacting with the dog and the enjoyment shared by all, she, very bravely, decided to allow the dog to approach. Ten minutes later, she had lost much of her fear that had existed for decades. She was very proud of herself, and we were very proud of our k9 buddy.
Most dogs that participate in visiting activities can be trained to perform specific actions in conjunction with a formal therapy program designed by medical practicioners. However, this does require an extra investment in time and committment from the team and we work with them, and the medical team, to provide the additonal training they may require.
Since we consider all of our visits to have theraputic value, we do not distinguish between AAT and AAA as far as certification goes. Any dog and handler that successfully completes the required training and is accepted into the program will be certified as a "therapy dog" and "therapy dog handler".
Animal Therapy has existed for quite some time and the benefits of interacting with animals has been well documented. Studies have proven that even watching fish swim around in a fish tank lowers blood pressure and has a calming affect. Perhaps that accounts for the poularity of large commercial aquariums.
Dogs, with their high level of intelligence and their ability to detect even the slightest nuance of human emotion, are especially well suited for animal therapy work. What could be better? The dogs love the attention and human contact and the people love seeing both the dogs and their handlers.
This term refers to the most common perception of "therapy" dogs or animals. It is most often a dog, or other animal, and handler visting residents of assisted living facilities, patients in hospitals, or inmates in prisons. Countless studies have validated the value of such visits and there is always some type of "theraputic" value to them, even if they are not formally structured to fit certain medical criteria.
This type of activity often includes programs where children read to dogs who patiently sit and listen, without comment or criticism. Studies have shown that children respond to this type of situation with increased interest and enthusiasm for reading. Another form of AAA is where "at risk" teens are placed in a program where they are responsible for training and caring for a dog, similar to the cell dog programs. The results of these types of programs has been consistently positive.
AAT (Animal Assisted Therapy)
AAA (Animal Assisted Activity)
Therapy Dogs have many jobs. They visit the sick, the elderly, the injured, the terminally ill, inmates in penal institutions, troubled youth, college students at exam time, and help kid learn to read... to name a few. The young, the old, the rich, the poor... it makes no difference to a dog. They do not judge us, they just love us!