Living in the Present is a Gift!

According to the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), the human-animal bond is “a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and animals that is influenced by behaviors that are essential to the health and well-being of both.” 


Human Service Assistance Animal {HSAA}

HSAA are domesticated, healthy, suitable, appropriately socialized, trained, and evaluated animals and positively motivated partners in the delivery of Animal-Assisted Human Services {AAHS}. 

Examples of domesticated mammals are alpacas, cats, dogs, donkeys, ferrets, goats, guinea pigs, horses, llamas, pigs, rats, rabbits and sheep. 

Safety and Welfare of HSAAs

The AAHSP and professionals shall have written procedures to safeguard the safety and welfare of HSAAs {Section 4.1 of the National Standard of Canada {NSC} outlines relevant requirements (best practices}. 

Written procedures shall:

4.1.1.1        outline the selection process and criteria that determine the HSAA’s capability and suitability for its specified role in the delivery of AAHS (such as temperament, motivation, mood, age, conformation, health, species/breed, and behavioural cues).

4.1.1.2        outline the process that ensures a gradual and progressive exposure of the HSAA to initial and ongoing specific training that utilizes positive reinforcement training techniques.

4.1.1.3        outline the process for the ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the HSAA’s suitability (see section 4.1.5.14) for service delivery (e.g., certification, where applicable).

4.1.1.4        outline the plan, including those responsible, for ensuring that all necessary resources are available to fulfill the safety and welfare needs of the HSAA (such as veterinary care and nutrition).

4.1.1.5        describe the various setting-specific roles, responsibilities, and qualifications of individuals working with the HSAA (such as schools, retirement facilities, hospitals, and therapy farms).

4.1.1.6        outline the process for determining the length of time the HSAA is actively working during service delivery (such as hours per day and days per month), including the frequency and length of recovery time.

4.1.1.7        outline the continuous process for determining when the HSAA is at the end of its work lifecycle (e.g., retirement phase) and its aftercare.

4.1.1.8        outline the process for the management of events that would affect the HSAA’s permanent or temporary withdrawal from service delivery (such as unforeseen medical conditions, unforeseen environmental events, pregnancy, injury, and death), including a reintroduction plan.

4.1.1.9        outline the process for protecting the HSAA from physical and/or psychological harm with respect to the work setting (such as schools, retirement facilities, hospitals, therapy facilities, and others).

4.1.1.10     outline the process for protecting the HSAA from physical and/or psychological harms with respect to the environment that the HSAA is exposed to (such as weather, pollutants, poisons, predators, and infectious agents).

4.1.1.11     outline the process for assisting the HSAA in recovering from any physical and/or psychological harm that it may experience.

4.1.1.12     describe how the animal’s basic needs will be met with respect to access to water, food, relief areas, rest, hygiene, exercise, shelter, space accommodation, play, natural behaviour, and social bonding, both during working and non-working hours.

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Slide show examples of how HSAAs connect with humans. 

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Animals-Assisted Services Professional (AASP):

A person that may require a particular designation, certification, or competency level to deliver specific types of Animal-Assisted Human Services {AAHS} within their designated scope of practice, to name a few:

  • therapists/counsellors
  • occupational therapists
  • physical therapists
  • speech-language pathologists
  • social workers...

Some professionals volunteer their time, while others are part of a multidisciplinary team and are paid for their services. 

Volunteers

Some volunteers need professional designations. Nevertheless, their contributions are priceless as they play an integral role within an Animal-Assisted Human Service Provider (AAHSP) business enterprise by taking on several roles, be it administrative or working with clients to help deliver Animal-Assisted Human Services {AAHS} such as Animal-Assisted Activities {AAA}. 

AAAs are informal, recreational, and motivational activities that incorporate HSAAs to enhance the quality of life. AAAs are delivered in community settings such as hospitals, nursing and retirement homes, educational institutions, and airports. Volunteer Handlers should be skilled in the populations and settings they work within.