This chapter takes a look at the concepts of animal-assisted activities and therapy (AAA/T) and venues where they are useful, and then deals with selecting appropriate animals. It suggests broadening the concept and practice of AAA/T to include situations where full-time companionship is provided, rather than offering only periodic visits. When preparing to offer AAA/T, many of the principles are the same as those used when selecting companion animals for normal home environments. The decision to offer someone special activities or therapy through companionship with animals is based on the presumption that an animal can provide something that the person needs or that would enhance the person's life in a significant way, or that the animal can add essential motivation to carry out assigned treatments or activities. Careful planning is required to provide adequate support and assistance to individuals seeking therapeutic full-time contact with a companion animal. One issue that frequently arises, concerns the acceptance of companion animals in the person's housing. A more basic challenge is that someone who has compromised psychological or physical health is likely to need a specially tailored program of assistance to assume responsibility for an animal. Some of these systems have been developed by agencies placing guide or service dogs, but comparable instruction and tutorial support are not currently available for the general population.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Professions(all)