American Humane Association Adds Services In Animal-Assisted Activities, Therapy

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Animal-Assisted Activities, Therapy

In order to advance its human-animal bond initiative, the American Humane Association has joined forces with Denver Pet Partners to offer direct services in animal-assisted activities and animal-assisted therapy. Through the arrangement, Denver Pet Partners becomes a program of American Humane, which is observing its 130th anniversary this year.

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"American Humane has long promoted the therapeutic value of human-animal interaction. By integrating the Denver Pet Partners organization, American Humane expands and enhances its national leadership in promoting the positive impact of the human-animal bond," said Marie Belew Wheatley, American Humane's president and CEO.

Denver Pet Partners, an affiliate of Delta Society, was founded in 2001 by Diana McQuarrie, director of Denver Pet Partners, and has grown to include 140 handler/animal teams serving 35 facilities in the Denver metropolitan area. As a program of American Humane, Denver Pet Partners will continue to serve clients such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, hospices, schools and mental health centers, and it will actively add more clients in the region.

Animal-assisted activities provide people with opportunities for motivational, educational and recreational interactions that enhance their quality of life. These would include, for example, trained volunteers bringing their dogs to a long-term care facility to visit the residents, providing mental stimulation, physiological benefits and unconditional acceptance. Animal-assisted therapy is an extended approach in which an animal is incorporated as an integral part of the person's treatment process. Such therapy has been proven to motivate rehabilitation patients to walk again, teach children in special education classrooms important life skills, and facilitate counseling sessions in mental health centers.

"Denver Pet Partners is a perfect fit with American Humane and will help us realize our mutual dreams of animal-assisted therapy becoming recognized as a mainstream treatment option," added McQuarrie. "Together, we can increase the knowledge base about the value of the human-animal bond and the effectiveness of animal-assisted activities and therapy in enhancing the healing and learning process."

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