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Animal Assisted Interventions 

Animal Assisted Activities (AAA), Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT),
Animal Assisted Education (AAE)
Animal Assisted Crisis Response (AACR)


Animal Assisted Interventions (AAIs) involve specific therapeutic goals and benefits which go far beyond simply spending time with an animal. They are innovative and evidence-based interventions that can be transformative for the lives of those they touch.

  • AAI’s are structured to promote physical, social, emotional, and cognitive wellbeing.

  • They focus heavily on relationships: how the relationship between volunteer, client, therapist, and animal must be developed in positive, mutually respectful ways in which the animals have a voice and choice whenever possible.

  • Therapy animals have the extraordinary power to reduce isolation, alleviate anxiety, and bring hope back into people’s lives through the precious comfort that comes from wagging tails, soft warm smiles and the type of unconditional love that only an animal can provide.


Our mission is to bring an educated and informed approach to the delivery of quality AAI’s to bring hope and healing to those in need through the undeniable power of the human-animal bond. 

Doggie birthday party. Two golden retrievers with party hats on, one on each side of a boy in a wheelchair in a hospital setting.


Animal-Assisted Intervention (AAI) is an interdisciplinary term that describes unstructured or goal-oriented activities that intentionally incorporate animals into human services, healthcare, education and similar fields. AAIs may be individual or group in nature, and are appropriate for a variety of ages and abilities. AAI is an umbrella term that encompasses:

Animal Assisted Therapy - AAT

Animal Assisted Activities - AAA

Animal Assisted Education - AAE

Animal Assisted Crisis Response - AACR

Animals in Support (AS)

And more....

These are outlined in more detail below with some delightful photos of Bradley, Tana  Finn and Addie actively involved in some Animal Assisted Interventions.

Animal Assisted Activities (AAA)

  • The general “meet and greet” activities that involve pets visiting people (e.g. greeting people in a common room area or going from room to room in a nursing home).

  • Variety of settings (e.g. hospitals, Youth Justice, special needs facilities, mental health units, nursing homes, schools, rehab units, and more).

  • Less goal-directed as specific objectives may not be planned

Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT)

  • AAT interventions are designed to promote improvement in physical, social, emotional and/or cognitive functioning.

  • AAT (Animal Assisted Therapy) is directed by a health professional / therapist who sets the goals for the session in which a specially trained animal-handler team is an integral part of the treatment process.

  • There are specific goals for each individual involved and the process is documented and evaluated.

  • E.g. playing with toys, throwing the ball, giving treats and brushing the dog could all involve goals related to movement of the arm - and a whole range of other goals.

Animal Assisted Education (AAE)

  • Designed to promote improvement in cognitive functioning / reading

  • Directed and/or delivered by an educational professional

  • Generally carried out at a school or library

  • Child will often read out loud to the trained therapy pet with minimal interaction from the handler.

  • Research shows that reading levels increase significantly with this approach, and children’s confidence levels rise.

Animal Assisted Crisis Response (AACR)

  • Dog / handler teams provide comfort and encouragement through animal assisted support to individuals affected by crisis and disaster, including first responders. These teams are trained to respond to intense emotional and environmental situations.

  • This programme is more active overseas, however has run occasionally in New Zealand, with NZ victim support working alongside select canine teams and community agencies.

  • Based on scientifically proven benefits of the human animal bond.

“Never underestimate the healing power of animals!”

Therapy dog Tana smiling as he is gently hugged by a girl in a hospital bed.
Animal assisted therapy. Golden retriever dog with a boy, a physio ball and Belinda.
Therapy dog Tana, a golden retriever, on a hospital bed with a boy. Tana is wearing the boys beanie hat.
Two boys, one on either side of a golden retriever, with all of them smiling.
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