An Animal Assisted Intervention defined by the International Associations of Human-Animal Interaction organisations is a goal oriented and structured intervention that intentionally includes or incorporates animals in health, education and human services (e.g., social work) for the purpose of therapeutic gains in humans.
Animal assisted interventions have several recognised forms:
- Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT)
- Animal Assisted Education (AAE)
- Animal Assisted Activity (AAA)
- Animal Assisted Coaching (AAC)
Dogs that are used for Animal Assisted Intervention are not Assistance dogs, dogs that have been trained to assist people with disabilities are specialised specifically task trained dogs such as the guide dogs, hearing dogs, assistance in disability, support dogs and dogs for good.
Assistance dogs are accredited by Assistance Dogs International (ADI) and in the UK by Assistance Dogs UK
At the moment, in the UK, their is no Psychiatric Support Dog scheme, where a dog is allocated to an individual full time. Schemes like this help people with Mental Health and do exist in other countries and is highly specialised. It may be that in time an organisation will start to commence this type of support but at the moment we are not aware of any.
TED video Pet therapy at work and school: