Who We Are

Photo of Nora the first HABIC dog

HABIC was started in August 1993 by Georgia Granger. Georgia and Ben Granger moved to Fort Collins from Knoxville, Tennessee, where Ben was Dean and Professor of the College of Social Work at the University of Tennessee, and Georgia was the founding Director of HABIT (Human-Animal Bond in Tennessee). Ben became Professor and Director of the School of Social Work at Colorado State University, and Georgia was asked to develop HABIC. The first HABIC program was at Spring Creek Health Care Center in Fort Collins.

The love of a companion animal is uncomplicated and unconditional, naturally received and returned by people of all ages. It was in this spirit that both HABIT and HABIC were founded. HABIC became a Center of Colorado State University, and is within the administration of the School of Social Work and the College of Health and Human Sciences. HABIC has an Executive Committee to provide guidance. After 22 years of co-leadership, Georgia Granger has continued to guide the program as director after Ben’s passing in January 2015. Ben is deeply missed. To learn more about his phenomenal career and love of family, visit http://www.ssw.chhs.colostate.edu/news/item/?ID=172086. HABIC has two part-time paid staff: Lauren Kaufman, Office Coordinator, and Jasmine Marie, Dog Trainer and Coordinator of Denver programs.

HABIC'S mission is to "improve the quality of life for people of all ages through the therapeutic use of companion animals." Within this mission are the goals of:

  • Service/outreach – providing animal-assisted intervention services and programs (animal-assisted therapy, and animal-assisted activity) in partnership with: public schools; long-term care and rehabilitation; hospitals; hospice; mental health; youth corrections; residential treatment; the Veterans Administration and other health and social services organizations in Colorado.
  • Teaching – educating students and professionals on the human-animal bond, the therapeutic use of companion animals, and animal-assisted interventions.
  • Research – conducting research in the human-animal bond field and animal-assisted therapy/activity interventions; evaluations of the animal-assisted therapy model/approach with “at-risk” students in schools.

Over the years HABIC has developed a large number of animal-assisted therapy and activity programs along the Front Range. Presently, HABIC has approximately 150 trained and supervised human-animal teams (e.g. owner/dog), providing services to 800 clients per week, in 50 separate programs.

HABIC’s funds come from several sources, including program fees, grants, and donations. The training process for humans and canines is approximately eight weeks, making sure each new human-animal team is prepared to enter a facility and do all they can to benefit those with whom they work.