Animals have gained significant roles in society including companions, confidants and visitors. The animal magnetism extends into multidisciplinary arenas as healthcare and educational providers recognize the effectiveness of involving trained animals in their careers. Animal assisted therapy (AAT) and animal assisted education (AAE) are very different than volunteer visitations. The navigation and implementation within professional framework is a complex process that fulfills very specific predetermined criteria.
Best practices of AAT and AAE involve a mutual respect between the professional, the dog, and the participant. Formally trained healthcare and human service providers are responsible for driving the process beginning with specialized evaluations, establishment of goals and measurable outcomes for patients, clients, and students. Therapeutic and educational plans typically involve activities that will effect change in the areas of physical, cognitive, sensory, and psychosocial functioning. Successful activity design, especially involving dogs, can be intimidating for both new and seasoned practitioners. This is one book in a series, and introduces different activities to meet these specialized goals. Twenty-five activities from the first edition (formerly titled Blue Dog Deck) were combined with new content to produce Professional Applications of Animal Assisted Interventions: The Blue Dog Collection.
The Blue Dog Collection offers practitioners and educators valuable discussions about screening people for participation, screening dogs for the job, intervention goals, precautions and professional responsibilities. Written by an occupational therapist that also trains dogs, this fully illustrated book describes ideas for all ages and abilities, and is useful for many professions within the interdisciplinary team. Readers are taken through activities step by step to identify the therapeutic value, supplies needed, precautions, and modification ideas. In addition, each activity considers the canine perspective, and makes recommendations for prerequisite skill sets for the dog, prior to joining in the activity. Activities from over a decade of workshop contents and clinical application are included. Therapists, veterinarians, educators, dogs with intermediate skills, and participants of all ages and abilities have evaluated the activities and found them to be fun, engaging, safe and purposeful.