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Healing Paws®

Animal Assisted Therapy Provider


"a special kind of listening"

Contact Us:

(425) 488-3061

FAQ'S about Animal Assisted Activities and Therapy (AAA/T)


 What is the current terminology being used to describe this work?


In the field, the terminology has shifted to Animal Assisted Interactions, or AAI.  This is the short-hand version of Animal Assisted Activities (AAA) and Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT).  It encompasses both AAA and AAT under one “umbrella”.




What is the difference between AAA and AAT?

Animal Assisted Activities (AAA) are entertaining, educational, and/or motivating. They are delivered by specially trained professionals, para-professionals, and/or volunteers along with their animals who meet specific criteria. AAA can be shows of entertainment, speaking in school settings, or social visits from room to room in health-care settings. It is not necessarily goal-directed, but is very therapeutic in nature.*

Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) is goal-directed intervention in which a therapy animal is an integral part of the clinical treatment process. It is directed by a health or human services professional with specialized expertise and within the scope of his/her profession. It is done in the form of one-on-one, group, or co-treatment settings. Charting is completed by the health or human services professional.*


*Definitions taken from "Standards of Practice in Animal Assisted Activities and Therapy," Pet Partners®, November 1996.




What are some of the benefits of AAA/T?

  • - Serves as a motivator in goal-oriented therapeutic interventions

    - Serves as a communication bridge between the individual and staff

    - Increases self-esteem

    - Decreases feelings of institutionalization

    - Diverts attention when pain and discomfort may figure prominently

    - Provides a positive outlet for energy

    - Provides an opportunity for safe and pleasant touch

    - Brightens an individual's mood

    - Fosters the ability to nurture and play

    - Decreases staff and patient stress

    - Decreases stress of visiting family members and friends

    - Provides empowerment for residents in an environment where they have little power and control



How can I provide AAA/T with my pet?


Prepare yourself and your animal for this work:

-Take therapy-focused training classes from a qualified instructor

-Complete the therapy team requirements of a reputable therapy animal organization:

Reading with Rover,

Pet Partners,

Healing Paws offers therapy-focused classes and workshops several times each year in the Seattle area.  

(See our Services & Training page)s


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