HABIC considers new programs on a selective basis, evaluating a number of factors relating to the interest and commitment to the human-animal bond and the therapeutic use of companion animals. Inquiries can be initiated through the HABIC office. A written agreement of participation is required.
Human-Animal teams provide opportunities for therapeutic, motivational, educational, and recreational benefits to enhance quality of life. AAA helps to relieve loneliness and provide emotional support. Through forms of contact with the client, such as petting, brushing, and speaking, human-animal teams (e.g., trained owner/dog) are a source of comfort in hospitals, long-term care, and rehabilitation facilities. In many AAA scenarios the animal serves as a facilitator, allowing a client to relate to professionals and HABIC volunteers in ways that would not otherwise be possible.
Animal-assisted activity teams bring comfort to patients of all ages and their families in general medical, pediatric, oncology, orthopedic, obstetrics, surgical, and intensive care waiting areas. Animal-assisted therapy teams collaborate over time with physical and occupational therapists in medical and psychological rehabilitation units to help patients achieve treatment goals.
HABIC teams currently visit with patients and their families at these hospitals:
Presbyterian Saint Luke’s – Denver
St. Josephs – Denver
VA Hospital – Denver
Highlands Behavioral Health – Littleton
Working with facility staff, HABIC teams are able to provide both AAA and AAT services to persons in long-term care, residential treatment centers, correctional programs, and other facilities, as well as those undergoing intervention services. Volunteers, animals, and residents alike benefit from the long-lasting and meaningful relationships fostered in weekly visitation programs.
"The dog takes you, and stays with you, and he doesn't get in a hurry."-Eleanor, resident in a long-term care facility
HABIC teams currently visit at the following long-term health care facilities:
VA Family Health Center - Denver
Centre Avenue – Fort Collins
Lemay Ave. Rehab - Fort Collins
New Mercer Commons - Fort Collins
Spring Creek – Fort Collins
North Shore – Loveland
Columbine Commons - Windsor
Garden Center Spring Creek - Fort Collins
Respite Care - Fort Collins
Wing’s Easter Seal Adult Day Care - Loveland
Eating Recovery Center for Adults and Adolescents - Denver
PowerBack Rehabilitation - Lakewood
Vista View Care Center - Denver
With the help of hospice-trained human-animal teams, and professional staff, the terminally ill and their loved ones are able to make a more peaceful transition. The unconditional love of a HABIC animal (e.g. dog or cat) offers an opportunity to express concerns about mortality, unresolved issues, a means to connect patient and family, and a is welcome reminder of joyful times.
HABIC teams visit patients at:
Columbine West – Fort Collins
Human-animal teams work closely with specialized health and human services professionals to design programs that meet specific therapeutic goals for each individual, such as improving physical, social, emotional, or cognitive function. Because of its ongoing role in a client's treatment regimen and the need for documentation and evaluation, AAT requires additional training of human-animal teams.
After HABIC worked with an autistic child for one and a half years, his mother said, "This is the first time I've been able to connect with my son."
HABIC human-animal teams along the Front Range work closely with special education teachers, counselors, social workers, psychologists, occupational therapists, and other school professional to create AAT programs to meet educational and therapeutic goals that have been identified by teachers and parents/guardians. Typical areas of need in K-12 and alternative schools for these at-risk students include: social skill improvement as self-confidence and self-esteem, motivation, empathy, attachment (bonding), respect; psychological/emotional needs; behavior control; and gross/fine motor skills.
The combined efforts of a school professional, HABIC volunteer and her/his dog, who meet with a student on a weekly basis to work on identified goals greatly improve students’ behaviors, social skills and feelings about school. These improvements for a student, then result in a more focused learning environment and fewer disruptions in the classroom; a positive change that impacts fellow classmates and teaching staff.
HABIC teams currently work with students in the following school districts:
Adams 12 - Broomfield
Park – Estes Park
Poudre- Fort Collins
Jeffco - Littleton
Weld RE-4 – Windsor, Severence
In addition, HABIC and selected human-animal teams are part of a crisis response group with Thompson School District.
HABIC recently completed a four year evaluation of animal-assisted therapy in schools. Read more here.
HABIC teams are working with incarcerated youth at Platte Valley Youth Services Center in Greeley and Lookout Mountain Youth Corrections Facility in Golden. AAT as part of a student’s treatment/rehabilitation plan has had very positive results. HABIC human-animal teams meet with a student and her/his therapist or counselor for weekly sessions. The focus is similar to working in schools with at-risk youth, including improved behavior, social skills as self-confidence, empathy, problem solving, and modifying delinquent behavior.