Horses, dogs, cats, dolphins and birds are just a few of the animals that soothe patients in mental health and recovery facilities across the nation. Dogs are patient, loyal, and consistent creatures for humans to rely on.
Therapy animals have just as many feelings as their patients, and it’s important to put the animal’s welfare at top priority. Be Kind to Animals week is devoted to protecting the animals that have protected us for thousands of years, and also to valuing the therapist who trains the animal, and helps patients heal on a more natural level. So take time to educate yourself and others on the essential aspects of animals as they become more and more essential to our mental health theories.
1. Animal Assisted Therapy does not contradict any aspects of psychology. It works in conjunction with all psychology theories, and is an excellent tool for therapy for most patients.
2. Therapy animals are not service animals! They are not protected by the American Disabilities Act, they work with professionals and clients only. This is why coverage can be so important.
3. Dogs and horses are not the only therapy animals. Therapy animals come from a wide variety of species and can even include llamas!
4. Therapy animals can be helpful to all manner of issues, both physiological and psychological. Some of these include self-esteem issues, social skill development, PTSD, anxiety, and formerly abused individuals. Animals help anywhere from nursing homes, to children’s units and psychiatric hospitals.
As all animals are unpredictable, it is vital to have adequate insurance coverage in place to provide for defense and claims for damages in the event of injury caused by an animal. It is important to note that at CPH and Associates, our program is not intended to cover animals, groups, or agencies for liability related to AAT. If services are being done on a volunteer basis, Pet Partners (formerly The Delta Society) includes insurance for those volunteering as a therapy animal team registered through their program. If services are being done on a fee for service basis, we recommend contacting a local independent agent for a Commercial General Liability policy that will include injury caused by an animal.