Animal-Assisted Therapy

Hi! I’m Clover, the Playtime Pup.

I am the therapy dog here at Ashley’s office! I love meeting new friends and spending time with parents and children. My job as a co-therapist is an important one. I have had to complete intensive training in order to be able to visit with little humans and spend quality time with them. My mama, Ashley, has also had to learn a lot and pass a lot of tests! Together, we make a great therapy team.

Animals are healers.

Using Animal-Assisted Therapy, we get to glimpse into a child’s world through empathy, connection, and patience. Interacting with an animal in a clinical setting is a special opportunity for healing.

Current research supports the use of animal-assisted therapy to decrease anxiety, depression, and improve cognitive performance among people of all ages (Bert et al., 2016). Most importantly, the

inclusion of animal-assisted therapy has shown significant improvement in a person’s perception of happiness and improves their quality of life (Sahebalzamani et al., 2020).

My Playtime Pup, Clover, supports children with many developmental capacities, such as emotional, attentional, and physiological regulation, engagement, communication, and also problem solving. She helps children focus on non-verbal cues and intentional relational engagement through her perky ears, her vocalizations, and body language, which supports skills in several other areas of a child’s life.

Children take what they learn with Clover and apply these concepts to many areas in their own life. They sharpen their nonverbal communication skills, they develop a sense of empathy for others’ feelings, and they generate meaningful connection with peers (human and non-human alike).

Clover and I are currently completing our Animal-Assisted Therapy Interventionist credential. This means we are both undergoing training to learn how to incorporate animals into clinical therapy work in a safe and effective way. Clover and I receive weekly training. She has started her clinical visits and visits the office three days each week.

I feel grateful to be able to offer Clover to families and their children. Just like any other type of intervention, animal-assisted therapy is an optional method of treatment. Clover is not the best fit for every child. If you have any questions about animal-assisted therapy, please reach out to me! I’m more than happy to help.