Animal Assisted Therapy
Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) is a goal-oriented, planned, and structured therapeutic intervention directed and/or delivered by health, education, and human service professionals including psychologists and social workers (IAHAIO, 2018)
AHH Wellness adheres to the Canadian Association of Social Worker (CASW) Code of Ethics (2005), the CASW Guidelines for Ethical Practice (2005) and the Newfoundland & Labrador College of Social Workers (NLCSW) Standards of Practice for Social Workers in NL (2020).
AAT is not a stand alone therapy. It is a complimentary therapy that is utilized in combination with the primary treatment modality being provided in a therapeutic session. According to the Newfoundland & Labrador College of Social Workers (NLCSW) social workers have a responsibility to maintain professional proficiency, to continually strive to increase their professional knowledge and skills, and to apply new knowledge in practice commensurate with their level of professional education, skill, competency, consultation and supervision as appropriate. Training, education and certification in AAT is necessary in order to safeguard the client and human rights, the health and welfare of the animal and ensure professionalism in the field of AAT.
Therapy Dog Bill of Rights
The Therapy Dog's Bill of Rights, created by Ann Howie, provide thirteen rights for a therapy dog. AHH Wellness adheres to these rights and is continuously in consultation and seeking the advice of other AAT therapists and animal trainers.
Dogs do not ask to become involved in therapy work with humans. Dogs have no union representative or "Dog Resource" department to reach out to when they feel their rights are being violated. Dogs cannot call in sick when they are not feeling well unless their handler speaks for them. Therefore, it is extremely important that the dog's voice, guided by their body language, is read and understood. The Dog's Bill of Rights provides the guidance required to seek out dog communication and to assist with making difficult decisions in the life of a therapy dog.
Meet the AHH Wellness Canine Team
Louie is German short-hair Pointer who was born on January 11, 2009. Louie graduated from puppy pre-school, clicker training, obedience school, agility training, and St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program. Louie's favorite things are tennis balls, swimming, and going in the woods with dad on the side by side.
Louie is officially retired as a therapy dog. He now has a supervisory role with AHH Wellness providing guidance and mentorship to young therapy dogs in training. Louie has also recently taken up writing. You can find his first book, titled "I'm a Big Brother" in the Therapeutic Stories section.
Lola is a Portuguese Water Dog who was born on July 28, 2021. Lola is a puppy and is enjoying puppy life right now. She is taking classes in puppy obedience and learning manners from Louie. Lola's favorite things are chewing on pillows, eating, and tormenting Louie.
Lola will be joining AHH Wellness handler and therapist in sessions when she passes all her obedience training and receives her certification as an AAT therapy dog when she is an adult.
You can follow Lola's training on AHHWellness Facebook and Instagram pages.