Frequently Asked Questions

Does Animal Assisted Therapy actually work?

AAT has become more and more recognized in recent years because of the amazing results it produces.  Children are more willing to participate in sessions, try harder, and make leaps of progress when the animals are integrated into the therapeutic sessions.  There are many research projects that have been completed, and many more currently being performed that prove effectiveness of this therapy.  A great resource to learn more about AAT research is https://habri.org/research.  Habri is the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative.

Is my child a good candidate for your programs?

Children of all ages and abilities will benefit from our programs.  Even if your child is nervous around animals – that’s okay too!  All of our animals are trained to be calm and quiet, so we can take things slowly, and go at the child’s own pace.  Many of our clients actually use our services to help their child overcome a fear of animals.

Please inform us if your child has an allergy to any animals, or a history of violence with animals.

What if my child is allergic to dogs?

We do have hypoallergenic dogs on our team, so even children with allergies can participate!

Do you provide service dogs?

At this time, we do not provide service dogs.  However, in the Spring of 2017, we will be starting up our ‘Raise Your PAWS’ puppy raising and training program.  Specially chosen puppies will be raised and trained at our Center, and eventually be placed in homes of families with children with special needs.

How can I get involved?

If you would like to enroll your child in one of our programs, please either call, email us, or fill out an online registration form.  If you would like to become a volunteer or an employee, please click here​ or "Join our Team" on the menu to find out what opportunities await you.

Glossary

Animal Assisted Interventions (AAI): includes three types of interventions: Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT), Animal Assisted Activities (AAA), and Animal Assisted Education (AAE). Heeling House provides all three types of AAI.

Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT): is a goal oriented, planned and structured therapeutic intervention directed and/or delivered by health, education and human service professionals. Intervention progress is measured and included in professional documentation. AAT is delivered and/or directed by a formally trained (with active licensure, degree or equivalent) professional with expertise within the scope of the professionals’ practice. AAT focuses on enhancing physical, cognitive, behavioral and/or socio-emotional functioning of the particular human client.

Animal Assisted Activity (AAA): are informal interactions/ visitations often conducted on a volunteer basis by the human-animal team for motivational, educational and recreational purposes. There are no treatment goals for the interactions. Examples of AAA include animal assisted crisis response that focuses on providing comfort and support for trauma, crisis and disaster survivors, and visiting companion animals for ‘meet and greet’ activities with residents in nursing homes.

Animal Assisted Education (AAE):  is a goal oriented, planned and structured intervention directed and/or delivered by educational and related service professional. AAE is conducted by qualified (with degree) general and special education teacher. The focus of the activities is on academic goals, prosocial skills and cognitive functioning. The student’s progress is measured and documented. An example of AAE delivered by a special education teacher is a dog-assisted reading program.