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Animal Facilitated Therapy

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What is Animal Facilitated Therapy?

Animals have been used in institutional settings for years to comfort lonely and depressed patients, alleviate boredom, and help make facilities more "homelike." The use of animals, especially dogs, by hospitals in actual treatment sessions to assist patients work toward achievement of goals related to speech, movement and socialization is a more recent development.

Northeast Rehab Hospital has developed and maintained a very active Animal Facilitated Therapy Program, organized and run by Ms. Linda Hume within the Therapeutic Recreation Department. Ms. Hume is a certified service and hearing dog trainer, who co-treats in 1:1 treatment sessions with patients. The program uses a substantial core of volunteers and well-screened, highly-trained animals. Animals are used within the context of traditional treatment sessions with physical, occupational and speech therapists. Additionally, the animals also make social visits to patients, delivering mail, going on rounds and participating in many community educational presentations.


  • Guidelines for Development of an Animal Facilitated Treatment Program
  • Profile of an Appropriate Therapy Dog
  • Before and After the Dog's Visit
  • Communicating with Confused or Sensory-impaired People-Guidelines for Volunteers
  • Animal Facilitated Therapy in Speech Therapy Sessions
  • Animal Facilitated Therapy in Occupational and Physical Therapy Sessions
  • General Guidelines for Visiting Patients
  • Animal Facilitated Therapy - Safety Guidelines
  • Infection Control in Animal Facilitated Therapy
  • Stress in Therapy Dogs: How to Recognize It, What to Do About It
  • Animal Training Tips for Use in AFT
  • Proposed Standards For Training and Use of Canines in Medical Rehabilitation
  • A few relevant links to information about canines as sources of special service...

    Assistance Dogs International
    Coalition of members representing organizations and individuals training and placing assistance dogs.
    Doggy Information on the Web
    Award winning searchable index site.
    Hearing Dogs
    Canines as service dogs for hearing-impaired.
    Dog Obedience and Training
    General resource on training.
    Canine Companions for Independence
    Serving the needs of persons with disabilities.
    Paws with a Cause
    Trains and places dogs to help people with disabilities perform activities of daily living. PAWS trains Hearing Dogs, Service Dogs, Hearing/Guide Dogs, and Service/Guide Dogs--specifically for the individual needs of each client.
    Dog Play
    Diane Blackman's incredible treasure trove of links to anything you can imagine related to dogs as humankinds best friend including rich links to use of dogs in therapy and as sources of assistance to persons with disabilities.

    Last Updated: 04/23/01 | ©2000 Northeast Rehabilitation Health Network