Animal Assisted Therapy

Afternoons with Puppy is a heartwarming account of dynamic relationships and outcomes involving a therapist, his therapy animals, and his patients over the course of almost two decades. It is a narrative of Dr. Fine's experiences and the growing respect for the power of the animals effect on his patients and himself.
Growing literature around the benefits of animal-assisted intervention (AAI) spurs health care professionals and administrators to start new programs. Yet the trend also raises questions of how best to begin and run successful AAI programs—under what circumstances, with what staff, and within what guidelines. Animal-Assisted Interventions in Health Care Settings: A Best Practices Manual for Establishing New Programs succinctly outlines how best to develop, implement, run, and evaluate AAI programs. Drawing on extensive professional experiences and research from more than fifteen years leading the Center for Human-Animal Interaction in the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, the authors discuss both best practices and best reasons for establishing AAI programs. For thorough consideration, the text explores benefits from a variety of perspectives, including how AAI can improve patient experience, provide additional career development for staff, and contribute favorably to organizational culture as well as to the reputation of the facility in the surrounding community. Developed for administrators as well as for volunteers and staff, Animal-Assisted Interventions in Health Care Settings includes practical, case-based examples for easy comprehension and offers user-friendly templates that can be adapted to develop practice-specific training, evaluation, and procedure manuals.
The integration of animals into the therapy setting by psychotherapists has been a growing trend. Psychological problems treated include emotional and behavioral problems, attachment issues, trauma, and developmental disorders. An influential 1970s survey suggests that over 20 percent of therapists in the psychotherapy division of the American Psychological Association incorporated animals into their treatment in some fashion. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the number is much higher today.   Since Yeshiva University psychologist Boris Levinson popularized the involvement of animals in psychotherapy in the 1960s, Israel has come to be perhaps the most advanced country in the world in the area of animal-assisted psychotherapy (AAP). This is true especially in the areas of academic training programs, theory-building, and clinical practice. Great effort has been put into understanding the mechanisms behind AAP, as well as into developing ethical guidelines that take into account the therapist's responsibility toward both client and animal.   This book exposes the world to the theory and practice of AAP as conceived and used in Israel. It emphasizes evidence-based and clinically sound applications with psychotherapeutic goals, as differentiated from other animal-assisted interventions, such as AAE (animal-assisted education) and AAA (animal-assisted activities), which may have education or skills-oriented goals. Not just anyone with a dog can call him- or herself an animal-assisted therapist. This volume demonstrates not only the promise of animal-assisted psychotherapeutic approaches, but also some of the challenges the field still needs to overcome to gain widespread legitimacy.  
Come, Let Me Guide You explores the intimate communication between author Susan Krieger and her guide dog Teela over the ten year span of their working life together. This is a book about being led by a dog to new places in the world and new places in the self, about facing life’s challenges outwardly and within, and about reading those clues—those deeply felt signals—that can help guide the way. It is also, more broadly, about the importance of intimate connection in human-animal relationships, academic work, and personal life.   In her previous book, Traveling Blind: Adventures in Vision with a Guide Dog by My Side, Krieger focused on her first two years with Teela, her lively Golden Retriever-yellow Labrador. Come, Let Me Guide You continues the narrative, beginning at the moment the author must confront Teela’s retirement and then reflecting on the entire span of their working life together. These emotionally moving stories offer the reader personal entrée into a life of increasing pleasure and insight as Krieger describes how her relationship with her guide dog has had far-reaching effects, influencing not only her abilities to navigate the world while blind, but her writing, her teaching, and her sense of self.   Come, Let Me Guide You makes an invaluable contribution to the literature on human-animal communication and on the guide-dog-human experience, as well as contributing to disability and feminist studies. It shows how a relationship with a guide dog is unique among bonds, for it rests upon highly regulated connections yet touches deep emotional chords. For Krieger, those chords have resulted in these memorable stories, often humorous and playful, always instructive, and generative of broader insight.    
Today’s therapy-dog handlers recognize the need to be teammates with their dogs. Teaming with one’s dog involves unobtrusively providing physical and emotional support as well as respectful guidance in what to do. Being a teammate requires attention to our own behavior, not just our dog’s. This book reminds all handlers that being conscious of what we do with our dogs helps them do their best work, and also can increase the effectiveness of our visits. Teaming with Your Therapy Dog teaches the STEPs of Teamwork and how those STEPs fit with the Therapy Dog’s Bill of Rights. These general principles free handlers to apply them in their own way to their therapy dog’s individual personality and work, and to everyday life at home! As the author writes, “The book explores a way of being conscious of what you do with and to your therapy dog to support him in his work.  It describes functional principles of behavior you can learn and use immediately, either together as a package or independently.” Using an exciting new methodology, the author guides readers to deepen their relationship with their dogs by acting consciously and respectfully.
In The Golden Bridge, Patty Dobbs Gross provides both personal and professional advice on how specially bred and trained dogs help to facilitate communication for children with autism and other developmental disabilities. This important information compendium is a guide for parents dealing with the social, emotional, and educational issues of raising children with challenges. Myths and labels concerning autism are explored, examined, and redefined. While focused on children, the advice that Gross shares will be immensely helpful for anyone involved in breeding, raising, and training dogs to mitigate any type of disability at any age.The Golden Bridge provides advice about living with autism, animal-assisted therapy and autism, training an assistance dog to work with a child with autism or a developmental disability, and using an assistance dog to deal with a child's grief. This impressive volume also contains a vast list of resources, including web sites, for follow-up information, a section on books about autism, and a directory of assistance dog providers.
  Mention the words “Seeing Eye,” and most people will associate them with guide dogs for the blind and partially-sighted. Mention the name “Dorothy Harrison Eustis,” and most people will not recognize it, even though she is the woman responsible for founding The Seeing Eye, the first guide dog school in the United States.   Since its inception eighty years ago, The Seeing Eye has trained thousands of people who are visually impaired to use guide dogs. The success of the program has spawned guide dog schools across the country and around the world, and the concept has been further expanded to include service dogs for people with other kinds of disabilities.   Drawing on correspondence, private papers, and newspaper accounts of the day, Miriam Ascarelli chronicles the life of Dorothy Harrison Eustis from her upper class childhood in Victorian Philadelphia to her years as a young mother in the upstate New York boomtown of Hoosick Falls, her widowhood, her failed second marriage to a man thirteen years her junior, and the confluence of events that led to her launching The Seeing Eye. In doing so, Ascarelli reveals both a driven woman and a very private person who shunned media coverage of herself but actively courted it for her organization.  
Dogs know when we are feeling down. They love it when we are happy and seeking friendship and fun, and they understand when we are feeling sad and desperate. This book presents a series of real-life tales of the positive effects dogs have had on people at the end of their lives, chronicling the visits by two therapy dogs, Woody and Katie, to patients in a south Florida hospice facility. Through twenty-one stories, infused with humor amidst the sadness, Michelle Rivera, an experienced animal therapist, explores the many ways in which animals can ease human suffering. Her book begins with the deeply personal story of her own mother Katherine’s illness and dying appeal to have the company of a dog, and proceeds to tell the stories of patients young and old who the author was inspired to visit with her “hospice hounds.” As well as demonstrating many of the techniques of animal therapy, Rivera argues powerfully that not allowing pets in health care facilities is a counterproductive policy that deprives patients of comfort at the time they need it most. Some of the stories were previously published in Hospice Hounds (2001), but the author has substantially expanded her introduction and added an invaluable final section that gives practical tips on training and certifying your dog to be a therapy animal.