Defining Animal Activity Options

Volunteer Visiting Animal/Handler Teams

StubbyIncludes pets that accompany their handlers for scheduled or spontaneous animal assisted activity (AAA) visits to a facility.

  • Volunteers may be part of an organized group or individuals from local therapy
    dog/animal groups, humane societies or shelters, or 4-H clubs.
  • Volunteers may include residents’ family members or friends who bring their
    own pets or the resident’s pet to visit.
  • Handlers should show proof that their animals are on a wellness program with
    a veterinarian, especially rabies vaccination.
  • Facilities may require volunteer visiting animals to be registered with a
    national therapy animal organization.
  • Facilities should establish policies and procedures to govern all animal
    activities.
  • Facilities may or may not have written objectives stating the reason for the
    animals being there.

Working Companion Animals

DogSmileIncludes animals that accompany a facility employee for all or part of their work shift and go home with the owner at the end of the shift.

  • Animals may be formally included in facility activities such as physical, occupational, and speech therapy, or they may have spontaneous interactions with residents and staff.
  • Animals should be screened by animal professionals for health and temperament prior to being allowed into the facility.
  • Animals should be on a wellness program with a veterinarian.
  • Facilities should require working animals to be registered with a national therapy animal organization.
  • Facilities should develop a care plan for each working animal and written objectives stating the purpose of the animal being there. Care pans should be reviewed and evaluated twice a year.

Live-in Animals

HorseIncludes animals that live at the facility (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) and are cared for by staff and residents.

  • Animals should be screened by animal professionals for health and temperament prior to being allowed into the facility.
  • Animals should be on a wellness program with a veterinarian.
  • Facilities should develop a care plan for each live-in animal and written objectives stating the purpose of the animal being there. Care plans should be reviewed and evaluated at least twice a year.
  • Facilities should designate several staff members and residents (where possible) to receive special training by animal professionals on animal care.
  • Some animals should be formally included in facility activities such as physical, occupational,  and speech therapy when possible; others may have spontaneous interactions with residents and staff.

Animal Contact in Nature

deerIncludes contact with natural wildlife around a facility, eg, butterflies, birds, deer,
squirrels, etc.

  • Consider installing feeders for squirrels and birds and planting a garden to attract butterflies.
  • Be sure to locate feeders and gardens in places that are accessible or visible to the residents for optimal enjoyment.

Animal Field Trips

  • Visit a local zoo.
  • Formally adopt an animal at the zoo.
  • Visit area historical farms, nature centers, and parks.
  • Invite local 4-H clubs to do programs with either farm or companion animals.
  • Visit local fairs or the state fair.

Plush Animals and Puppets

StuffedBearIncludes use of plush stuffed animals and puppets which can have beneficial effects
regardless of a person’s age.