Human-animal teams provide opportunities for therapeutic, motivational, educational, and recreational benefits to enhance quality of life for people of all ages. HABIC volunteers assist others in a variety of places:
Animal-assisted activity teams bring comfort to patients of all ages and their families in general medical, pediatric, oncology, orthopedic, obstetrics, surgical, and intensive care waiting areas. Animal-assisted therapy teams collaborate over time with physical and occupational therapists in medical and psychological rehabilitation units to help patients achieve treatment goals.
Long-Term and Rehabilitation Healthcare
Working with facility staff, HABIC teams are able to provide both AAA and AAT services to persons in long-term care and rehabilitation facilities. Volunteers, animals, and clients alike benefit from the long-lasting and meaningful relationships fostered in weekly visitation programs.
With the help of hospice-trained human-animal teams, and professional staff, the terminally ill and their loved ones are able to make a more peaceful transition. The unconditional love of a HABIC animal (e.g. dog or cat) offers an opportunity to express concerns about mortality, unresolved issues, a means to connect patient and family, and a is welcome reminder of joyful times.
Working with facility staff, HABIC teams are able to provide both AAA and AAT services to persons in senior care facilities.
Working with facility staff, HABIC teams are able to provide both AAA and AAT services to persons in mental health programs.
HABIC human-animal teams along the Front Range work closely with special education teachers, counselors, social workers, psychologists, occupational therapists, and other school professional to create AAT programs to meet educational and therapeutic goals that have been identified by teachers and parents/guardians. Typical areas of need in K-12 and alternative schools for these at-risk students include: social skill improvement as self-confidence and self-esteem, motivation, empathy, attachment (bonding), respect; psychological/emotional needs; behavior control; and gross/fine motor skills.
The combined efforts of a school professional, HABIC volunteer and her/his dog, who meet with a student on a weekly basis to work on identified goals greatly improve students’ behaviors, social skills and feelings about school. These improvements for a student, then result in a more focused learning environment and fewer disruptions in the classroom; a positive change that impacts fellow classmates and teaching staff.
HABIC teams are working with incarcerated youth at Lookout Mountain Youth Corrections Facility in Golden. AAT as part of a student’s treatment/rehabilitation plan has had very positive results. HABIC human-animal teams meet with a student and her/his therapist or counselor for weekly sessions. The focus is similar to working in schools with at-risk youth, including improved behavior, social skills as self-confidence, empathy, problem solving, and modifying delinquent behavior.