What is Canine Assisted Intervention?
Often confused with canine therapy, an approach that sees a certified mental health professional incorporate a trained therapy dog into the support and services provided to clients, canine-assisted visitation can be an intervention or program offered to support individuals seeking to reduce their stress, to feel less homesick, to get connected to others in their community, or for individuals seeking to simply feel better. At the heart of canine-assisted visitation are certified dog-handler teams who work under the direction of a canine therapy agency to provide support to visitors through interactions with individual dog-handler teams. Both the contexts within which canine-assisted visitation programs might operate and the client or visitor supported by canine-assisted visitation can vary and as a field, we’re seeing this form of providing access to therapy dogs burgeoning. Programs are now routinely found on college campuses, in residential care facilities for the elderly, in airports to reduce stress in travelers, in funeral homes to support mourners, and even in the dentist’s office to support anxious patients.