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(AAT)Animal Assisted Therapy(AAT)
(AAA)Animal Assisted Activities(AAA)
Enhancing the quality of human lives ............. One hug at a time!

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 Animal-Assisted Therapy
Goal driven, therapeutic intervention & interaction, whereby health/human 
   service professionals, combine animals as a normal part of their practice 

The formal definition of Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT):
"(AAT) is a goal-directed intervention in which an animal that meets specific criteria is an integral part of the treatment process.  (AAT) is directed and/or delivered by a health/human service professional with specialized expertise, and within the scope of practice of his/her profession.  (AAT) is designed to promote improvement in human physical, social, emotional, and/or cognitive functioning [cognitive functioning refers to thinking and intellectual skills].  (AAT) is provided in a variety of settings and may be group or individual in nature. This process is documented and evaluated." 

Standards of Practice for Animal-Assisted Activities and Therapy"


       Animal-Assisted Activities (AAA)        
Supervised, casual, spontaneous interaction 
between animals and people

The formal definition of Animal-Assisted Activities (AAA):
"(AAA) provides opportunities for motivational, educational, recreational, and/or therapeutic benefits to enhance quality of life.  (AAA) are delivered in a variety of environments by specially trained professionals, paraprofessionals, and/or volunteers, in association with animals that meet specific criteria."
"Standards of Practice for Animal-Assisted Activities and Therapy"

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The Animals
Individual organizations which promote and practice
(AAA) and (AAT), sometimes specialize in one particular type of animal in their programs, but almost every animal, from Guinea Pigs, Snakes and Cats to Horses, Dolphins and Dogs, have been and can be successful, when matched with a compatible patient.  All animals can have a positive effect on human health, when they are well socialized, trained, handled & supervised by a skilled volunteer/health professional and selected, based upon a patient's individual needs, preferences and ultimate goals.  Needs, expectations and goals, should be discussed and defined in advance, by collaboration between the patient (or legal guardian), an (AAT) specialist, and ideally the patient's regular physician as well.  

Dogs & Horses in particular, are excelling at, and producing significant measurable results through Animal Assisted Activity & Animal Assisted Therapy programs.  As worldwide interest and support for alternative methods of human health care increase, animals should finally get the recognition they deserve, as a legitimate complement to traditional forms of medicine & treatments.


Benefits of Human-Animal Interaction
Pets~Lower~Your Blood Pressure 
This is a documented and undisputed fact, which by itself, proves the
Minimum Value & Health Benefits of (AAA) and (AAT).  The Maximum Value & Health Benefits are yet to be determined, but hopefully much more will be scientifically proven in the near future, based upon the rapid growth and quality of professionals who are entering this relatively new field of study.  This should come as no surprise to anyone who has shared their life with animals, especially dogs, whose main goal is to love and please the humans in their lives, including often times, total strangers.  Animals have the innate ability to detect emotions in people, from clues which are invisible to humans and many will instinctively comfort a person whom they sense is in distress and in need of some extra attention.

  Human-animal interaction in the mainstream!
The health benefits of human-animal interaction have only recently begun to receive mainstream acknowledgement and acceptance.  There is still a long way to go and much more work and research is needed to see just how powerful a treatment, (AAA) and (AAT) can be.  When combined with traditional forms of western medicine, selected eastern remedies, plus other overlooked therapies, who knows what ills can be cured?  When a knowledgeable, caring and open minded healer, treats a courageous and receptive patient, animals may just be the final ingredient to a cure for many serious illnesses!

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Who can say whether patients who could have gone either way, pulled through a potentially fatal illness, due in part to the warmth, attention, comfortable acceptance and unconditional affection of a special animal?  Perhaps there is more to the healing power of animals than what our current assumptions are based upon.  A theory known as "Energy Transfer," might help explain, why a vibrant, strong and healthy therapy dog, may lay around his/her home, uncharacteristically lethargic & inactive, sometimes for days after particularly stressful visits with extremely ill & very weak or depressed patients.  "Energy Transfer," is by no means an accepted, proven scientific fact, yet, but this concept and other theories will be studied and debated in much greater depth, as the health benefits of human-animal interaction achieve greater mainstream acceptance.


          Educational & Career Opportunities       
Some colleges & universities, are now offering courses and degrees in the science of human-animal interaction.  They are teaming up with local (AAT) organizations, which provide students with hands on learning, internships and volunteer opportunities.  While as of now, it may be difficult to earn a nice living in this field alone, it is definitely a way to do something you love, make a positive difference in the lives of others and be in on the ground floor of what could prove to be the most revolutionary, simple & inexpensive advancement in health care, seen in ages!  With a pure heart, some creative thinking and perhaps an education in teaching or health care, with some business courses as well, opportunities to make a decent living in this field and contribute positively to society, should certainly be possible!


Organizations involved & making a difference!


Delta Society (R) logo


North American Riding 
for the Handicapped Association






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