Our Services

 

Animal Assisted Therapy makes use of trained animal and handler teams as an integral part of a goal-oriented treatment plan for  individuals with special needs. The variety of animals used includes, but is not limited to, dogs, cats, rabbits, pigs, birds and horses. Because animals are accepting and non-judgmental, they make it easier for people to feel more relaxed and more comfortable during their personal treatment sessions.
Our handler and therapy dog teams provide services to individuals with special needs, in educational, clinical and day program facilities.  Aided by the gentle and unconditional love of our highly trained animals, our teams help the individuals  improve physically, socially and emotionally, as well as in the areas of self-regulation and motivation. Our ultimate goal is to improve and strengthen both their skills and their character traits, giving them the added confidence they need in order to achieve their personal goals.

 

 

Improves fine motor skills

Improves focus, attention and motivation

Improves social skills

Increases self-esteem

Decreases anxiety, depression and isolation

Improves self-control

Improves balance

Increases trust, empathy and team work

School Based Program

Our unique application of the School-Based Animal-Assisted Therapy program uses an animal’s gentle and unconditional love with coordinated lesson plans to improve children’s social skills, life skills, motor skills, speech, motivation, and self-confidence. We work closely with teachers and paraeducators weekly to ensure each child has an opportunity to interact with the therapy animal individually while also working on their IEP goals.

Benefits of the School-Based Animal Therapy Program include increased self-esteem, trust, empathy, focus, motivation, self-control, and decreased anxiety, depression, and isolation.

Our school partners

Clinic-Based Program

In our Clinic-Based program, each Animal Therapy team works with the assigned therapist to help their particular child reach their individual goals using the animal as the motivator. Should the child need a break during the combined session, the therapist can continue working with the child while our team steps back and vice versa.

Pawsitive Friendships currently provides our Clinic-Based Program with Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Feeding Therapy. The Clinic-Based program improves the child’s motor skills, social skills, compliance, motivation, motor planning, and speech.

Our clinical partners

Adult Program

Our Adult Program provides weekly or monthly Animal Therapy to Adult Day Programs (DTA) to adults with special needs. During an Animal Therapy visit, the Animal Therapy Team works with staff ensuring each individual has the opportunity to interact with the therapy animal in a group setting. Individuals are encouraged to engage with the animal through petting, treats, brushing, going for walks, playing fetch, and more. This program helps individuals with special needs improve motivation, participation, social skills, and motor skills while increasing self-confidence.

Adult Program Partners

 

Laura Ibsen Program

In February 2018, Laura Ibsen passed away due to complications from autoimmune diseases. Laura dedicated over ten years of her young life to Pet Therapy, starting in 2005 when she first visited Chandler Regional Hospital with her therapy dog, Patches. After that, she became an evaluator for Pet Partners, evaluating potential Pet Therapy teams in Arizona. She was also the Pet Therapy Team Lead at Mercy Gilbert Medical Center and the Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Here, at Pawsitive Friendships, Laura, Patches and then Scooter, volunteered countless invaluable hours working one-on-one with various children on a weekly basis.

With degrees in Elementary Education and Special Education, she was ideal for us. She used every moment as a teaching moment for the benefit of the children and worked diligently and devotedly to ensure each child’s success. When one youngster was afraid of getting a haircut, Laura encouraged her to use a child’s scissors to “cut” Scooter’s hair during one of their occupational therapy sessions. Then, on her own time, she and Scooter accompanied the child’s family to the salon to help her have a haircut while she repeated that same exercise.

Laura’s compassion for and commitment to others was unparalleled, and this Pet Therapy Training Program is designed to honor her memory and her legacy. Its goal is to train and register new Pet Therapy teams whose human handlers have hearts as warm and loving as hers. Once registered, these teams will volunteer with Pawsitive Friendships for a two-year term.

Applications for the Laura Ibsen Pet Therapy Training program will be accepted on a per diem basis, and before applying, all interested candidates are urged to review the requirements listed below.

Animal Requirements:

  • Must be one year old at time of evaluation
  • Must have lived with owner for at least 6 months
  • Must be current with vaccines
  • Must have no history of aggression
  • Must demonstrate basic obedience skills

Handler Requirements:

  • Must be 18 years or older.
  • Must “read” their animal’s body language and recognize when their animal is stressed, anxious, concerned, over stimulated or fatigued.
  • Must interact positively with their animal by praising, cueing, encouraging and reassuring their animal as needed.
  • Must cue or redirect their animal without raising their voice, forcefully jerking on the leash or offering their animal food or toys.
  • Must be able to engage in casual conversation with those they meet on their visits while still being attentive to their animal.
  • Must guide the interactions of others with their animal in a polite and professional manner during therapy sessions.
  • Must be mindful of and “advocate for” the safety and wellbeing of their animal at all times during therapy sessions.
  • Must attend weekly pet therapy training classes for 6 to 10 weeks in addition to completing assigned team “homework.”
  • Must attend an animal handler course through Pet Partners. Achieving a Certificate of Completion to become a registered animal therapy team.
  • Must attend Pawsitive Friendships training/orientation.
  • Must undergo and pass a fingerprint check and have no criminal background.
  • Must be available for one therapy session a week at a school or clinic associated with Pawsitive Friendships for the term of their Pet Partners registration (two years).
  • Must demonstrate professionalism, compassion for individuals with special needs, and respect for their privacy in compliance with HIPAA.

If you are interested in submitting an application or learning more about the program, please contact Tosha at tosha@pawsitivefriendships.org



Animal Requirements:

  • Must be one year old at time of evaluation
  • Must have lived with owner for at least 6 months
  • Must be current with vaccines
  • Must have no history of aggression
  • Must demonstrate basic obedience skills

Handler Requirements:

  • Must be 18 years or older.
  • Must “read” their animal’s body language and recognize when their animal is stressed, anxious, concerned, over stimulated or fatigued.
  • Must interact positively with their animal by praising, cueing, encouraging and reassuring their animal as needed.
  • Must cue or redirect their animal without raising their voice, forcefully jerking on the leash or offering their animal food or toys.
  • Must be able to engage in casual conversation with those they meet on their visits while still being attentive to their animal.
  • Must guide the interactions of others with their animal in a polite and professional manner during therapy sessions.
  • Must be mindful of and “advocate for” the safety and wellbeing of their animal at all times during therapy sessions.
  • Must attend weekly pet therapy training classes for 6 to 10 weeks in addition to completing assigned team “homework.”
  • Must attend an animal handler course through Pet Partners. Achieving a Certificate of Completion to become a registered animal therapy team.
  • Must attend Pawsitive Friendships training/orientation.
  • Must undergo and pass a fingerprint check and have no criminal background.
  • Must be available for one therapy session a week at a school or clinic associated with Pawsitive Friendships for the term of their Pet Partners registration (two years).
  • Must demonstrate professionalism, compassion for individuals with special needs, and respect for their privacy in compliance with HIPAA.

If you are interested in submitting an application or learning more about the program, please contact Tosha at tosha@pawsitivefriendships.org

Facilities we serve

All Abilities Learning Center

Baio Enterprises

Civitan Foundation

Cody's Corner

Empower Academy

Foundation for Blind Children - Main

Foundation for Blind Children - West

Foundation for Blind Children - East

Hope Academy for Autism

Milestone Pediatrics

Phoenix Day School for the Deaf

Tyler's Place

Victory Autism Academy

We are always looking to work with new facilities. If your facility is interested in working with our teams, please contact Tosha at tosha@pawsitivefriendships.org
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