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Animal Assisted Therapy Essay

1240 words - 5 pages

Animals Helping Humans
CLASS LTD is an organization that helps people with developmental disabilities. CLASS has done many things for their clients including transportation services, helping clients find jobs and adult residential services (CLASS LTD). They continue to search for other ways to serve their clients. After research it has been decided that an animal assisted therapist should be hired. Every CLASS LTD client has different needs, and animal assisted therapy can help with many of them, including building empathy, the quality of their lives and their cognition. With the addition of an animal assisted therapist, CLASS will improve the lives of their clients greatly.
Animal assisted therapy can help many different people in different ways, but what is it exactly? According to the Handbook on Animal-Assisted Therapy, animal assisted therapy (AAT) “utilizes the human-animal bond in goal-directed interventions as an integral part of the process” (Fine, 2000). In Wilson’s report Animal Assisted Therapy, it is stated that AAT is a “fairly old practice,” but it has come to attention again recently, and not just helping people in the hospital cope with their illnesses. AAT can also help with many other problems including the improvement of fine motor skills, standing balance, verbal interactions, self-esteem, and motivation (Animal-Assisted Therapy Overview). Animal assisted therapy can even be used with children and has been implemented into school and residential programs (Wilson).
There are many animals that can be therapy animals, but there are some guidelines that need to be followed. Just about any animal can be used for animal assisted therapy, as long as they are social and pleasant (Wilson). The animals most frequently used are cats and dogs, but animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, pot bellied pigs, horses, donkeys, llamas, alpacas, and birds can also be used as long as they one year are older with the exception of rabbits, guinea pigs, and rats, which may be six months old (Pet Partners Therapy Animal Program Frequently Asked Questions). Even though people own exotic animals without problems, they are not acceptable as therapy animals because they can be unpredictable (Pet Partners Therapy Animal Program Frequently Asked Questions). Most pets that are owned by the average person could be a therapy animal, but they must go through an AAT training program like Pet Partners. Pet Partners’ webpage How to Become a Registered Therapy Animal Team has four steps that the handler and their animal must go through to become registered as a therapy animal team. Step one involves the handler learning the skills needed to visit the facilities in which the therapy will happen safely. For the second step the animal in the therapy team must have a health screening. All of the animals that participate in the program must be free of parasites, disease, infections, and illnesses. They also need to have their current rabies vaccination and any...

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