Therapy Animals

AAI Evaluation Prep Workshop

All dog teams can use some practice before they head into their Animal Assisted Interventions (AAI) evaluation. Many of our dogs have not worked throughout the COVID crisis and are finding their evaluations to be the first time they need to use these extraordinary and complicated skills. Many great therapy animal teams are not passing their evaluations, not because they cannot do the job, but because some of their skills have stagnated a bit.

This workshop is a one day, three hour class, where we will practice the skills needed in AAI and at AAI evaluations. Our lead trainer, Robynn Harris, has been a licensed Pet Partners Volunteer Instructor for over four years and has been teaching hands-on therapy dog classes for almost ten years. We will be joined by Liz Clark, an experienced and licensed Pet Partners Team Evaluator! If you’ve ever wanted to ask a Pet Partners Evaluator questions before your evaluation - this workshop is for you.

We will NOT be conducting a mock evaluation. We WILL be practicing all the skills needed for best practices in AAI which will cover the skills needed for the majority of AAI evaluations.

Please contact us if you have any questions.

July 17, 2022

1:00pm - 4:00pm

Cost of workshop: $100

Completion of Pet Partners Handlers Workshop or currently registered with an AAI organization.
Your dog must be bathed and groomed within 24 hours of the workshop.

About Us

Our dog trainer, Robynn Harris, ODMN, CCFT, has been an AAI Handler since 2014. She became a registered therapy dog handler for Pet Partners in 2015. She has such passion for therapy animal work she became a licensed Pet Partners instructor in 2017. In 2018 she founded Pet Partners of Portland and currently serves as President. In 2022 Robynn became a Team Leader for HOPE Animal Assisted Crisis Response.

Robynn has been teaching hands-on Therapy Dog Prep classes for over eight years. Many of her students are currently registered therapy animal teams working across the U.S. for Pet Partners, HOPE AACR, and other AAI organizations.

Robynn and her therapy dog Schatzi have worked in schools, prisons, hospitals, libraries, and virtually. Robynn currently is the Lead AAI Volunteer at Legacy Mt Hood Medical Center where you will still find her and Schatzi bringing a bit of joy to patients, visitors, and staff during these extraordinary times.

Private Classes/Lessons/Assessments

Our dog instructor, Robynn Harris, is also available for private therapy classes, lessons, and/or assessments. Email us to learn more.

Where to Start?

I cannot recommend these two books enough!

If you’re wanting to do volunteer AAI work you should read Ann Howie’s Teaming With Your Therapy Dog. Ann has worked as a mental-health therapist since 1987, and has often incorporated animals as her therapeutic partners. Her knowledge and experience put her at the forefront of therapy animal work. Ann was the national Director of Animal-Assisted Therapy Services at Pet Partners from 1995-2000. I consider this book THE textbook for AAI teams. Ann reminds all handlers that being conscious of what we do with our dogs helps them do their best work, and can also increase the effectiveness of our visits.

If you’re wanting your pet to be your professional partner then you’re going to want to read Risë VanFleet and Tracie Faa-Thompson’s book, Animal Assisted Play Therapy. Risë and Tracie put their combined 75 years of experience working professionally with animals and people into this prodigious book. While the focus of this book is on mental health professionals, the approach and methods covered can easily be adapted for use by allied health professionals, such as physical, occupational, speech, and recreational therapists as well as those in the educational field such as teachers and school counselors.

~Robynn Harris, CCFT

The Therapy Dog’s Bill of Rights.

Author: Ann Howie

As a therapy dog, I have the right to a handler who

-Obtains my consent to participate in the work

-Provides gentle training to help me understand what I’m supposed to do

-Is considerate of my perception of the world

-Helps me adapt to the work environment

-Guides the client, staff, and visitors to interact with me appropriately

-Focuses on me as much as the client, staff, and visitors

-Pays attention to my non-verbal cues

-Takes action to reduce my stress

-Supports me during interactions with the client

-Protects me from overwork

-Gives me ways to relax after sessions

-Provides a well-rounded life with nutritious food, medical care, physical and intellectual exercise, social time, and activities beyond work

-Respects my desire to retire from work when I think it is time

The Power of Positive Training

August 19, 2020

From Pet Partners

Whether you’re training your cat in skills they’ll need to become a therapy animal, or simply want your dog to stop stealing your dirty socks, positive training methods are the way to go. Learn about what positive training is, why punishments don’t work, and how we at Pet Partners make sure that animal welfare during training is a top priority.

Motivation for Training Your Therapy Animal

July 14, 2020

From Pet Partners

You’ve brought a new pet home who you think might be a great therapy animal (perhaps one you adopted from a shelter), and you’ve taken some time to prepare them for experiences they might have as a therapy animal. Now you have the opportunity to focus on specific training for your pet.

Preparing Your Pet for Therapy Animal Work

June 29, 2020

From Pet Partners

If you’re interested in becoming a therapy animal team with your pet, you’ll want to take time to get your animal ready for doing this work. The most important aspect of a successful therapy animal is their temperament; but they’ll also need some preparation for the kinds of experiences they’ll have during therapy animal visits. This preparation will help them be comfortable and happy as therapy animals.

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