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Healing Paws®

Animal Assisted Therapy Provider


"a special kind of listening"

Contact Us:

(425) 488-3061


Relationship Development/Therapy Animal Skills Class

Focus for the Therapy Team: Increased Awareness leads to Intentional Visiting



The Relationship Development/Therapy Animal Skills Class sets you, the handler, and your animal teammate up for success.  This hands-on, experiential class usually meets 6 times, for 1.5 hours each meeting. However, this summer session is condensed into 4 consecutive classes, 2 hours each meeting.

Please note: this class is usually spread over 2 months, in order to give you and your animal the time to assimilate and practice the information provided in each class, and the opportunity to develop into a therapy team, if that is your interest. 
Because the summer session is shorter, it is up to the handler to take the time outside of class with their animal, to work on developing into a therapy team. This class will provide you with the tools to do just that.


People and their animals come to the class with a clearly loving relationship.  This class helps you, the handler, understand how to be a proactive and supportive teammate so that you and your animal are successful in your lives together and in therapy work.  At the conclusion of this class, my hope is that you will have a deeper understanding of your animal, and your relationship will be stronger.

Our animals give their best, when asked to interact with unfamiliar people or other animals.  Sometimes that interaction goes very poorly, and sometimes it works out okay.  But, success is more than tolerance of interactions, for you or for your animal.  True success happens when both the animal and handler are well-suited for the interaction.  It is your responsibility to determine the suitability of the interaction before it occurs, and, if necessary, to decline it gracefully and clearly.  Don’t know how to do this?  You will by the end of this class.


Who should attend?

*Students in need of community service hours for school projects

*Young people working on bar or bat mitzvah projects

*College students wanting to help de-stress their fellow students

*Volunteers interested in participating in reading programs

*Volunteers wanting to visit patients in medical facilities

*Professionals wanting to work with their animal teammate in their practice    


Here are some of the lessons covered in this class:


  • Setting boundaries with people and their animals, and with exuberant people wanting to interact with your animal
  • Establishing respect in your relationship with your animal
  • Recognizing your animal's stress signs and knowing what to do about them
  • Grounding yourself and being in the moment with your animal
  • Handling your animal
  • Developing a “visiting” mindset
  • Visiting with intention
  • Enhancing your interactions by learning a few tricks
  • Learning about some of the different visiting populations and environments – role play scenarios
  • Familiarizing you and your animal around health care equipment



For those of you who are interested in becoming registered with a therapy team organization, this serves as a preparation class. 

Your responsibility is to:

  • Understand and complete the onboarding requirements of the therapy team organization
  • Prepare yourself and your animal to meet the expectations of the therapy team organization’s evaluation
  • Know your animal’s behavioral and emotional strengths and weaknesses and anticipate their needs
  • Always demonstrate proactive and supportive handling of your animal throughout this class, your therapy team evaluation, and in your future therapy team visits.



To participate in these classes, your animal must be house-broken, and safe to be around unfamiliar people and animals. 


June: 7, 14, 21, 28


Thursdays, 4:30 - 6:30 p.m.     OPEN, ACCEPTING REGISTRATIONS

Space is limited, please register early to secure a spot. 

Class Cost $175 per handler.  Price includes the book, "Teaming with your Therapy Dog" by Ann R. Howie, LICSW, ACSW

Class Location Woodinville, Washington

Registration:  For registration information, please email Christi at

Confirmation of your spot in the class will be emailed upon receipt of complete registration.