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 Rufis
This darling dude is Rufis. His 'human' mom, Karen
Herritt, sent in his special story on January 28, 2000. She's very proud
of her guy who is soon to become Dr. Rufis. I will let him tell it to you in his very own
"Me and my mom have been in training for the past
two months. I am going to be a Comfort Caring Canine here in Philadelphia. Every Saturday
me and my mom
go to school. It's great. We have mastered the sit, stay and wait. My mom
did not realize I can do that, she had to be taught. I made a home visit to
a young girl in a wheelchair. What a blast. I stayed with the girl for five whole
hours. We both smiled all the time. She really liked it when I brought her things
(like shoes, newspaper & towels). I stayed right by her side so she could
pet me and talk to me.
My mom just made her first visit to St. Christopher's
hospital for children with another member, to see if I would like the job. She said that
this is my new career. Bow Wow!!"
Dr. Rufis was a star on March 18, 2000, passing his
Therapy Dog test from the Comfort Caring Canine organization. Mom and Dad are so very
proud of their boy. They also attended Paws-Abilities 2000, put on March 25th & 26th
by the Susquehanna Service Dogs. Karen and Dr.
Rufis had loads of fun! They entered the kissing contest (dog who could kiss the longest),
the doggie costume contest & the newspaper carrying contest (each dog had to deliver
the paper into the bucket). Rufis won the blue ribbon for that event!
Dr. Rufis is now a team player at Nazareth Hospital in
Philadelphia. Met with a warm and excited reception, they visited the 6th & 7th
floors. One gentleman, who absolutely loved dogs, was laying in bed unable to move. He
asked Karen if Rufis could sit on his bed. She told him to say "up, up, up."
With Karen at Rufis' side (it was as if he had wings), he very gently sat at the end of
the bed, then sporting the biggest smile. He then asked, "Rufis can I have a
kiss?" Well, Rufus took two tiny steps and gave him a GReat big kiss. Wow, what a
great feeling, and Rufis enjoyed himself so much. The staff at the hospital was great, and
so happy to see the people they were caring for having such a good time.
Well, now Karen and Dr. Rufis are on call, since they
only live 15 minutes away from the hospital. Rufis may now need a doggie beeper! If there
is such a thing, of course.
On October 22, 2000 I took a train to
Philadelphia to participate in Fox Chase Cancer Center's Paws for the Cause with Dr. Rufis
and his mom, Karen. This 2nd annual dog walk featured lots of fun and games, such as a dog
look-a-like contest. Here is Dr. Rufis with a gift from Aunt Rochelle. I called it his
"AlfieBear" which Rufis picked up on right away, the smart boy that he is. This
is a replica of the same teddy bear that was waiting for Alfie when he came to me at eight
weeks of age.
Let Me Meet Another Therapist