The most accepted terms for this field are Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) and Animal-Assisted Activities (AAA). AAT involves
working with someone when a specific goal has been identified. If you do this as a
volunteer, you will work with a professional who will assist you in selecting goals for
different individuals. AAA are those activities designed to strengthen someone's quality
of life. Usually performed by volunteers, they are generally "meet and greet"
Meet Golden Holly
Sweet Pea's Everloving Holly CD, CGC. "Holly
Loving" is a four-year old Golden Therapy Dog. But, she also has several physical
handicaps herself. She has hip/elbow dysplasia, degenerate joint disease and cancer. But,
Mom Rosa calls these handicaps rather than
disabilities, because they have not disabled Holly in the least. Her tumors have been
removed without the need for chemotherapy. And, her dysplasia is under control by
medication. Despite the discomforts, pain and sometimes limited mobility from these
problems, Holly is always in the best of spirits. Always eager to please, she still shows
much puppy-like playfulness. And, as is a Golden trait, Holly will never let you know if
she is tired, isn't feeling up to par, or doesn't really want to do what you want.
People are always surprised to hear of Holly's limitations because of her happy-go-lucky
nature. And, she is a solid participant in the Therapy Pet program in Antioch, California.
Holly has visited children at homeless shelters, adults at a rehabilitation center after
brain damage, and convalescent hospitals. Wondering how she gained all the necessary
manners and learning to take on such important jobs? Just go to
HERE. (Mom Rosa has made
Holly a webpage HERE.)
I'll let Holly tell you about her important Therapy Dog work (from a Golden's point of
view!). "Like all large, active dogs my age, I need a job to do, so my
mom picked just the right one for me. I get to meet all different kinds of humans, big and
small, ones that move and ones that don't move at all. The ones that don't move still
greet me with their eyes and smile if they can. Sometimes they even try to pet me and
One Saturday a month mom bathes me with a great-smelling shampoo, puts a real pretty red
scarf on me, and even a badge with my name and picture on it. Then we go to a place where
there are a lot of nice people who smile and pet me, and all I have to do is sit and smile
back. I then get a real good treat from mom. It must really be early when
we visit because most everyone is still in bed. They even have
their jammies on.
Some humans sit in chairs that walk for them. They don't even have to move at all to get
from place to place. Sometimes I have to be careful and watch out for those wheels on the
floor, or they will pinch my toes. Once they almost bit my tail, but mom quickly moved me
out of the way.
The part I like best is when the humans behind the counter tell me how wonderful and
beautiful I am. That's what I always like to hear. I get all that and treats too, imagine!
I would like to go to work more often, but mom has a job too. I wonder if she gets treats
like I do."
Let Me Meet Another Therapist