AAI (Animal-Assisted Intervention) is an approach to educational, remedial and therapeutic work involving trained pet and handler teams. It has been on the rise in the past decade or so due to the increasing numbers of studies confirming the effectiveness of this method that has been known anecdotally for a long time.
My dog Louie is trained as a therapy dog. Together we have worked in primary schools helping with the literacy program by having children read to Louie. Besides raising student’s interest in reading and having the experience of a non-judgemental listener the list of by-products is long. Teachers noticed that children would keep the noise level down, remember their manners better and felt happier and more cooperative for the rest of the day. Some students – out of their own initiative – would write special stories or poems for Louie or draw a picture just for him.
Louie and I had to undergo a week-long rigerous training and assessment course to be qualified to work in the AAI field.
Currently, Louie and I are embarking on a new AAI adventure working with homeless people, some of them escaping domestic violence or other traumatic circumstances. Besides benefiting our primary clients, staff members notice an increase in well-being too – feeling less stressed and smiling more.
Putting smiles on people’s faces is just the tip of the iceberg. The impact of AAI on emotional and physical health as well as cognitive functions is far reaching. There are many articles and studies available on the internet for your further research if you’d like to know more, or please contact me for more information on this topic.
AAI is being used in many different areas such as people with learning disabilities, physical rehab patients, Alzheimer patients, nursing home residents, troubled youth and the list goes on and on.
Are you interested in AAI in your private or professional life? Please, contact me to discuss how Louie and I can make a difference for you.