Through practical, real-life examples, Assessing Handlers for Competence in Animal-Assisted Interventions provides guidance to any person working with animals in any setting. Facilities that have volunteers who work independently are in the greatest need of competent handlers, yet many of those facilities accept handlers with only proof of animal vaccinations. Other facilities accept an evaluation of the animal-handler team without knowing whether that evaluation relates to their facility or client dynamics. Both of these problems easily can be remedied with basic guidance.
Howie brings more than thirty years of experience as an AAI provider, coordinator, and mental health therapist to bear on the topic of competence for animal handlers. In a friendly, easy-to-read style, she clearly explains the need for competencies while identifying broad categories currently in use. She then outlines training that addresses those competencies based on individual facility and client dynamics. She further describes one model for easily integrating competency assessment into an interview and provides a form for documenting the competency assessment. Additionally, Howie addresses how to deal with problems that can arise in program management.
Anyone who reads this book will come away with the knowledge and confidence to assess handlers’ competence.
With a distinctive combination of personal experience and professional training in both the human and animal fields, Ann R. Howie has spent her life helping humans better appreciate canines. A trained psychotherapist, she observed similarities in the behavior of human and nonhuman animals, and the effects they have on each other, which led her to integrate animal-assisted therapy into her psychotherapy practice and to obtain a credential as a dog trainer.
She was part of the initial task force that identified standards for the emerging field of animal-assisted therapy in the early 1990s, and she later combined her professional training and observation experience to help Pet Partners write numerous handbooks, design multiple trainings for humans, and provide assessments of handlers and animals. Howie is the author of Teaming With Your Therapy Dog, and her Therapy Animal’s Bill of Rights has been adopted by many visiting-animal programs internationally. She lives in Olympia, Washington.