Animal Assisted Therapy

We are excited to announce we now have animal-assisted therapy available!

Meet Nala, our full blood border collie

Benefits of Animal Assisted Therapy

  • Mental break in an emotionally taxing session

  • Healing happens in stress-free environments (Animals help with that)

  • Positive outlet for staff to manage stress

  • Unconditional regard for clients

  • Nonjudgmental support

*from AAIP white paper

Cutting-Edge Therapy

Evidence-based research is currently being collected on this "new" way to do therapy.

The certification is new but the concept is old. Possibly speeding the healing process through the unique human-animal bond.

How We Found Nala

The Backstory

  • 8 years of research.

  • One failed attempt to select a rescue dog (she is now a family dog).

  • A new Professional Certification.

  • A breeder willing to work with Heather for a Puppy.

Moving Forward

On March 7, 2022, Heather gets the call, there are four female puppies in the liter. I am up on the list. Excited like a New Mom!

March 23, 2022, Meet and greet with the four available puppies. (How do I pick one!)

April 6, 2022, Nala selected Heather during the puppy selection meet and greet.

April 16, 2022, At last, puppy pick-up day!

Nala excited to be heading out for a car ride

Nala enjoying the view

How does Animal Assisted Therapy Work?

The Technical Side:

  • Nala passes the Canine Good Citizenship (CGC), CGC B, and CGC U tests.

  • Nala passes the Public Access test.

  • Heather passes the Animal Assisted Therapy Certification

  • Heather becomes Nala's trainer for all of her exams.


Nala grabbing a nap after a day of training

What You Need to Know

In preparation for the addition of the dog, some things will change.

The therapist will always be seated in the recliner.

The sneeze wall will come down for sessions with the dog.

Nala has the right to refuse to work, she can hide in the part of the room that has her bed.

Nala can be asked to be in the area that has her bed if you would like her not to be involved in your session. She will also quietly lay near Heather.

Wh"y" Nala?

Nala was one of four available girls.

We were asking a lot of an eight-week-old puppy because being a therapy dog is an important job. She needed to be independent, but still want to play with her siblings. She needed to be adventurous. She needed to want to be with people. She needed to be able to self calm quickly.

During our second meeting she claimed Heather’s girls, and then sat on Heather’s lap to look into her eyes. She then ran and played, with or without her siblings.

Nala selected Heather. Heather knew she was the one when she ran under an old model bakers oven. She had found something she wanted. She wagged her tail (hitting the metal stove). Scared herself and ran out, pounced down for the attack. Since there was nothing to attack she ran back under. This happened again. This time she looked around and no one else was concerned so back under the stove she went. On the third time when she ran out from under the stove she had her prize, a potato chip clip she found under the stove.

She was adventurous. She self-calmed quickly. The problem solved. And the team was formed.