One of the founders of Delta Society, Michael McCulloch, may have said it best in 1981 with this quote describing the relationship and its impact between an animal and a human and the mission to continue the charge:
“In an age of research when it is tempting to reduce human emotions to biochemical reactions and to rely heavily on the technology of medicine, it is refreshing to find that a person’s health may be improved prescribing contact with other living things. Members of the health and allied professions must continue to combine resources, work together in the spirit of cooperation, and never forget to ‘cure when possible but comfort always.’”
More research is needed on animal-assisted programs to ensure their sustainability and future success. Some hesitation still exists on the behalf of some healthcare institutions, corporations and hospital chains over possible legal ramifications of allowing pets in their buildings. Hopefully, local organizations like Canine Assisted Therapy and Pet Partners will continue to be champions of the cause for many years to come. Their efforts and diligence in keeping the standards in place for human-animal interactions will allow more successful programs to exist in healthcare institutions and will open the door for more research to support the efficacy of these programs.
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http://www.baylorhealth.com/physicianslocations/bir/birnews/pages/animalassistedtherapy.aspx Baylor Animal Assisted Therapy Retrieved on 3/15/15
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History of Canine Assisted Therapy, Inc. (“C.A.T.”)
C.A.T. is a non-profit organization that is not subsidized by government funding. Founded in 2009, C.A.T. is dedicated to providing pet therapy to children and adults who have developmental and physical challenges as well as those who desire comfort and companionship of a loving pet. C.A.T. improves people’s lives physically, mentally and emotionally.
Co-founders, Debra Berger and Joann Jurgle, joined forces when they saw an unmet need in our community to provide safe, effective and efficient pet therapy for animals and humans. They began with a simple idea that started at Debra’s dining room table where they developed proper certification and standards for volunteer management and programming. Among their first clients were nursing homes in Broward and Palm Beach Counties. C.A.T. has come a long way since operating at a dining room table. C.A.T. progressed to a 750 square foot office space with limited dedicated training space and today C.A.T. has evolved into a 2000 square foot office space with 80% dedicated to pet therapy training and education.
One of the early challenges was that pet therapy was not commonplace like it is now and people were not familiar with the concept. They knocked on doors and continued to be turned away. Their persistence and education has led to a premier “best in class” reputation and now people knock on their door essentially “begging” for their services.
In 2009, C.A.T. started with two (2) founding dogs and two (2) handlers. In less than five (5) years, C.A.T. has grown to 150 certified therapy pets and handlers providing services to over 100 facilities nationwide.
C.A.T.’s vision is to educate and teach people how therapeutic animals can change a person’s life. Whether it is emotionally, physically or mentally. Whether a person is developmentally challenged, physically challenged, lonely or simply loves the companionship of a pet.