BOOKS: Pet Therapy

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1998:

Pet Therapy:
A Study & Resource Guide
for the Use of
Companion Animals in
Selected Therapies
by Phil Arkow
37 Hillside Road, Stratford, NJ 08084,
1998. 198 pages, paperback, $28.00.

The secret of pet therapy is so simple
that just about all mammals and birds
know it instinctively: touch makes us feel better.

Of course pet therapy can get quite a bit
more complicated, depending on the type and
degree of the specific condition one hopes to
address, but that’s all you really need to
understand to get started––and if you work at a
shelter that doesn’t yet have a pet therapy program,
working with human service organizations,
you’re missing one of the very best
ways to keep yourselves visible and well
regarded. A good pet therapy program can
become a magnet for donations, planned giving,
even bequests.
Everything else you need to know is
in Phil Arkow’s book. According to the flak
sheet, “Arkow, a pioneer in the animal-assisted
therapy field, has been updating and
expanding the study and resource guide continually
since it was first compiled in 1977.
The 8th edition includes new sections on how
to conduct an animal visit, insurance and liability
concerns, model policies for hospitals
and nursing homes, state laws, and animalassisted
therapy and the Americans with
Disabilities Act.”
It also includes lists and contact
information for just about every kind of
resource you might need––even the animals,
if you need animals with special training.
Mostly, you won’t. Mostly, if you have the
book, Arkow will help you with the human
aspects of pet therapy, and the animals will
take care of their own end. They’re the
experts. You’re the wheels, the can-opener,
and the dish-filler.

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