Pet Therapy Presentation
Integrated Training Program – Health Care Aide
“Pet Therapy” – Peta Laing, LPN (HCA Facilitator – Columbia College), PALS certified handler
On May 7, 2014, Peta Laing, HCA Facilitator at Columbia College, brought her dog Mulligan to visit our Integrated Training – Health Care Aide class. Peta and Mulligan gave a presentation related to “Pet Therapy”.
Peta and Mulligan are both trained and certified to participate in the PALS – Calgary (Pet Access League Society) to offer pet therapy to several community members and organizations. Pet Therapy by definition, is the use of trained animals and handlers to achieve specific physical, social, cognitive and emotional goals with patients; also called animal-assisted therapy.
Pet Therapy can be utilized in many different settings, including educational institutes (for students who suffer from exam anxiety), long term care facilities (seniors who suffer from behavioral challenges related to some dementias), and group homes or seniors residences (those suffering from loneliness or loss of companionship). Pet Therapy is also found to be effective for corporate professionals in high stress jobs, individuals placed in correctional facilities and homeless shelters.
Peta presented to our Integrated Training – Health Care Aide students in preparation for what the students may encounter in their practicum experiences. Many seniors retirement facilities and long term care facilities host the Pet Therapy program as part of their daily routines.
Peta and her dog Mulligan, a standard poodle breed, hoped to share information and gain the respect and confidence the students will need to be successful in their learning experiences. This was an opportunity to learn more about the animals, the purpose of their role and to hopefully eliminate any misconceptions, anxiety or challenges individuals may face when encountering a pet therapy animal and handler in the community. Pet and Mulligan offered the students suggestions and strategies when encountering animals that are PALS certified and animals that may not be certified with any specific program (little to no formal training).
Overall the students found the experience helpful and beneficial to their learning experience and practicum preparation. We hope Peta and Mulligan can come visit again soon!
For pictures of this activity, click here.
Caron Pelletier, Coordinator HCA Program