Animal Assisted Therapy is a goal-directed intervention in which an animal that meets specific criteria is an integral part of a treatment process. The treatment is directed and/or delivered by an education, health or human service professional with specialized expertise within the scope of practice of his/her profession.
An example of animal assisted therapy is the PATS Paws and Tales Program, which is offered to schools and libraries. More information can be found on the Paws and Tales Literacy Program page of this website.
PATS does not train or provide either Service Pets or Facility Therapy Pets.
Service Pets are trained to provide services directly to their disabled handlers, while therapy pets, supervised by their handlers, provide services to others (e.g., the residents of an assisted living facility).
Facility Therapy Pets normally reside at the facility in which they are employed. These animals don’t have one owner/handler but rather work alongside facility staff every day.
Except at the facilities they visit, PATS pets do not have any privileges beyond those granted to any other pet in public places, on public transportation or in private buildings such as apartment blocks where the keeping of pets is restricted or prohibited.