Animal-assisted therapy is an effective program through which trained teams of volunteers and their dogs become an integral part of a patient’s treatment process or education plan. This human-animal interaction makes a remarkable difference for virtually everyone who experiences it — at hospitals, schools, libraries, child welfare facilities, youth correctional facilities and more.
Our rigorous process ensures that animal-assisted interactions are conducted humanely, safely and effectively, to provide the most value to the people and facilities we serve. Our dogs must perform to the highest standards, and all our volunteers pass criminal background screenings that include fingerprinting and an FBI national check. No other therapy organization has such high standards for the dogs or their handlers.
Animal-Assisted Activities and Animal-Assisted Therapy
Animal Assisted Activity (AAA) is defined as pet-centered visitation programs to enhance the life quality or support educational programs in a variety of environments such as hospitals, special needs day care, retirement homes or reading intervention programs.
Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) is goal-oriented treatment utilizing specially trained pet/handler teams to achieve specific physical, social, cognitive, or emotional goals with patients. AAT facilitates healing and improves self-esteem, lifts morale and reduces stress of patients and staff alike. We provide animal-assisted therapy services to individuals with all types of disabilities and partner with other non-profit organization throughout South Florida to provide these services.
Pack Reader and B.A.R.K.
Our Pack Reader Program helps children build reading skills under the attentive ear of a canine companion. We volunteer within public and charter schools as well as established educational tutoring systems to support the efforts of children currently reading below their grade level, who have low self-esteem or who may be learning English as a second language.
The B.A.R.K. Program, launched in the fall of 2011, teaches children about Behavior, Affection, Responsibility and Kindness towards animals. This new program has been added to the Pack Reader Program and is being used to encourage the proper treatment of animals, and also serves as an anti-bullying message to children.
Dogs Healing Hearts
The primary job of a therapy dog is to make people feel calm and happier, perfect medicine for someone suffering serious illness or the loss of a loved one. Therapy dogs are non-judgmental listeners who want nothing more than to be touched, and provide comfort to human companions.
Therapy dogs have a unique ability to sense human suffering. When introduced to a group of students, a therapy dog has been shown to instinctively seek out a depressed or struggling child. People in grief or other forms of counseling can’t help but smile when a therapy dog is introduced into the setting. While this may be difficult to believe or test clinically, it has proven to be true with grieving individuals time and time again.
C.A.T. has partnered with organizations that specialize in mental health and grief counseling to provide pet therapy to individuals who may be suffering loss, serious illness or just need some support while dealing with depression. Through a combination of therapeutic and fun activities, individuals are able to learn new ways of dealing with their issues and begin the healing process with the help of a therapy dog.
We look forward to expand out program to a wider geographical area and bring the power of animal-assisted therapy to more people who can benefit from our services including children at child advocacy centers, soldiers and veterans, and children who are testifying in court.