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Animal Assisted Therapy

What is Animal Assisted Therapy?

According to the PRAAT website, "animal assisted therapy incorporates programs that provide the joy and companionship of pets and animals to children in libraries, to those who are ill, mentally or physically handicapped,
or otherwise disadvantaged."

Often the people who benefit from this kind of therapy "have had pets in their past but due to a change in circumstances, they can no longer have them. PRAAT brings these people back into contact with the therapeutic world of animals."

Benefits of Animal Assisted Therapy

There are many benefits to animal assisted therapy. According to the PRAAT website, the following are just a few of the benefits of this form of therapy:

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Reduces anxiety and stress
  • Improves gross and fine motor skills
  • Provides an interesting topic to encourage dialogue
  • Improves communicativeness of patients
  • Makes the residents feel important and worthy
  • Improves elderly patient's recall of their childhood and the pets they had and cared for
  • Improves children's reading and communication skills

Type of Facilities PRAAT visits

A list of facilities PRAAT visits includes (but is not limited to) the following:

  • Nursing homes
  • Adult homes
  • Hospitals
  • Handicapped facilities
  • Psychiatric wards
  • Pediatric wards
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Schools and Libraries
  • Camp Paquatuck (Rotary summer camp for handicapped children)

How To Get Your Pet Involved

The following is a list of steps listed on the PRAAT's website to get your pet certified :

  1. Temperament Screening. Contact us if you would like to see if your dog has the temperament required to become a therapy dog. We're looking for dogs that are very friendly and sociable.
  2. Training. We require that you and your dog complete an eight week obedience training class. Volunteers are required to pay for the training class. If your dog already has excellent obedience skills we will be happy to do an obedience evaluation and bypass the training classes as long as the dog passes our standards.
  3. Evaluation. Once you and your dog have completed the training class we will schedule to do a visit at a participating facility with you. We will be looking for not only how your dog behaves in a medical facility, but also how you handle the dog and interact with the clients and staff.
  4. Let the visits begin!

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit the PRAAT website or call (631) 207-9325