Animal-Assisted Interventions: Taxonomy and Best Practices

Melissa Y. Winkle1 & Deborah E. Linder2
1 Dogwood Therapy Services, Albuquerque, NM, USA
2 Tufts Institute for Human-Animal Interaction, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA, USA

Animals, particularly dogs, are gaining momentum in specialized Human-Animal Interactions. Dogs’ roles range from pets, family members, volunteer visitors, and canine colleagues, to assistance dogs. This has also resulted in a need for uniform terminology to delineate between the different jobs dogs do within HAI as many of these roles are now the subject of scientific inquiry and laws. While the international literature has demonstrated growth in these areas, the terminology can leave readers confused when it comes to dogs working in the contexts of Animal Assisted Interventions (AAIs) and Assistance Dogs (AD). This article looks towards organizations with significant national and international representation to clarify the movement toward a uniform terminology that may impact the development of standards of practice and research for a variety of disciplines using AAIs and clarify laws for AD.

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