Implementation of Animal-Assisted Programs – California

Earn your CEUs and make a difference for a worthy cause!

A portion of the proceeds from this course goes toward Canine Assisted Therapy (C.A.T.), a non-profit organization which works to improve human health through the use of certified therapy dogs.

This course has been approved for 0.25 CEUs for PTs and PTAs by The California Physical Therapy Association/Approval CPTA # 15-242.

Course Description

The human-animal bond has been explored for decades. In fact, the media has elevated society’s awareness of the human/animal bond through numerous stories about how animals impact our lives and our health while filling a place in our lives as a loving companion. In 1981, the Delta Foundation collaborated with the American Veterinary Medical Association to define the benefits people achieve by having interactions with animals. The National Institutes of Health in 1987 and the National Institute of Child and Human Development in 2008 worked to explain how the relationship between animals and humans improves the quality of life of the humans that enjoy these relationships.
Local organizations such as Canine Assisted Therapy, Inc., a non-profit organization, located in Oakland Park, Florida, have continued to champion the cause of providing therapy animals to health care settings, schools and assisted living facilities while ensuring the training of the animals and handlers meet the standards necessary to ensure the success of these programs. Modern day media may glamorize these relationships, but clearly we can see that there is a rich history of dogs and their healing powers. Research has started to prove that those benefits go far beyond what many people ever imagined.


The purpose of this course, Practical Implementation of Animal – Assisted Programs in Physical Therapy, is to help therapists develop animal-assisted programs in their therapy practice.

Course Goals and Objectives

After successful completion of this course, the participant will be able to:

  • Identify the different types of animal–assisted therapy programs and their benefits to physical therapy patients.
  • Have a working knowledge of the evaluation methods utilized to select animals for assisted therapy teams.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the guidelines surrounding the animal’s health and wellness as it relates to safety for patients.
  • Determine feasibility of establishing a program and steps to implementation.
  • Train and educate staff on the use of animal–assisted programs for patients.
  • Implement exercises with an animal partner and its handler in treatment programs.
  • Know liability safeguards for the use of animals in therapy programs.

Course Instructor

Suzanne Gasse, MBA, PT, ATC, CSCS
Debra Berger, Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board, Canine Assisted Therapy, Inc.

Intended Audience

Physical Therapist and Physical Therapist Assistants in the State of California

Course Level

This course is applicable for introductory and advanced learners.

Course Prerequisites


Method of Instruction / Availability

Online text-based course / available 24/7

Requirement for CE Credits

A score of 70% or greater on the course post-test.

Continuing Education Credits

0.25 CEUs

How to Get Started

Click the first unit below to begin. If you have purchased this course, you will be able to take the course quiz and earn your CEUs upon marking each reading section complete.

Course Units

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