I often hear that therapies with animals can be performed by this or that person or group and after getting in touch with them I see that they make everything but not therapy, because they forget that govern it and bases on which they are based. So I have asked bored a little, although I know that going I thank one day, and tell you all these things, or a few, surely you will be necessary if you want to implement a program of AAT (animal assisted therapy).
First of all, keep this on mind: "the success or failure of an innovation in the organization is a consequence of the interaction between power and policy at many levels: individual, within the Organization, between organizations and the society." (Fost & Egri, 1991). You have to do many efforts to make such interaction encourages you. It's like juggling several balls, it is difficult but not impossible.
Do you know what is the difference between activities / therapies assisted with animals?
Animals Assisted therapy (TAA) are interventions directed towards concrete objectives as an integral part of a rehabilitation process, through the interaction between animal and patient. These sessions should be directed by a therapist professional, which can be of the branch of psychology, education, physiotherapy, etc. The therapist is than fixed goals, guide the interaction between animal and patient, conducting an evaluation of the whole process and measuring the progress of the same.
Assisted activities with animals (AAA) are recreational activities, with a therapeutic effect but without concrete targets, in which people relate the animal to increase their quality of life. Anyone evaluate or measure the progress of the patient and they can be performed by any volunteer provided to take an animal.
So if I want to "do therapy", this should have some objective (what do I want to get?); It has to be directed by a professional (good be a canine educator or a technician, animal-assisted therapy is not a therapist); There is an evaluation (what has changed with respect to prior to the AAT program?).
Have you've studied the factors that affect the organization to perform the AAT program?
Do you have management support?
Do you have the support of the CEO or Directors?
Is there a staff to support the idea?
Do you have to hire new staff?
What are the issues concerning security and respectful treatment of animals?
What are the Issues about responsability?
How is the evaluated the efficacy of the program?
Is there a continuous assessment?
What do users think about the idea?
How can you find economical resources (costs)?
How can you control infections?
When you are thinking of the design of the program you have to think about both staff and users. You have to have both.
STAFF: trained, experienced and enthusiastic. University professionals, qualified personnel and volunteers.
USERS: Allergies and phobias. Past of animal abuse experiences. Polling the user about his opinion about the AAT.
Which animal should you choose?
You don’t need the same budget to a therapy with horses than one dog and of course is not the same a Chihuahua dog than a Boxer for therapy in penitentiary institutions. Choose well!
The Trojan horse: Economic efficiency.
Start your project gradually, use existing resources; seeks for foundational or corporative support; charges a fee for service; search for donations and don't forget the sale of products (merchandising).
Each Member of the team must assume their responsibilities and in that sense, there is nothing better than an action protocol, IF a worker ignores the standard and don't know where to search, he or she will invent it and often is not the best solution to a problem.
Test day!: results.
What are the criteria to assess the results?
-Cost / benefit.
-Other more economic programs.
-Number of users of the service.
- There are also other instruments to measure the effectiveness.
Remember to keep track of infections.
They are not common zoonoses (transmission of a disease from animals to man), but a veterinary health plan for animals involved in the program, it is mandatory!.
Meet some of the principles that govern the AAT.
- All animals will be carefully selected.
- At the time of recruitment of staff and users will be verified allergies, fear or aversion towards animals.
- The rights of persons who do not wish to participate with animals are priority, keep clear exclusion zones for animals and be sure they will be respected.
- Activities with animals must be integrated into the overall treatment plan, with specific objectives.
- You will be monitored by the staff those users with a history of animal abuse.
- Weekly work sessions must be documented.
- The animals will not work more than 5 hours a day.
- The worker should remember that the use of an animal is not a panacea to work with a patient with problems.
- The worker should strive to maintain the therapeutic component.
I will leave for the following entry concerning the evaluation of the programme. Anyway if there is somewhere you want to go into more depth you can ask me and I will do everything that is in my hand to clarify all your doubts. Remember that the important thing is to share knowledge...