To have a really effective animal assisted therapy program you have to pay considerable attention to the matches that are made.
The match between handler and animal.
The match between facility and program.
The match between client and animal.
The match between human therapist and handler and animal.
The match between need and skill set.
When all these factors come into play and the perfect match is made you have a match such as Lisa, Kat, Boise, Andrew and Mom, all convening at the Children's Therapy Center in Las Vegas.
Lisa and Boise are the animal therapy team, Kat is the physical therapist and Andrew is the most wonderful little boy. And well, Mom is Mom!
At first we thought a very small dog would be the perfect match for Andrew. But Petey was just not up for the job! So Andrew was introduced to big ole Boise and the perfect therapy partnership was created.
Boise learned some new skills to work with Andrew such as lying on a swing and being a human pillow!
Andrew learned to trust his new friend and was so motivated, his therapy sessions just flew by, with achievement after achievement.
"I can lift my head to see Boise."
"I can stretch all the way out to lean on Boise."
"I can open my hands all the way out to stroke Boise."
"I can balance on Boise's back to play my music game."
"I can laugh and giggle and smile and show emotion because I love Boise."
To assist this one little boy to reach his goal, the perfect facility and therapist, handler and dog, and most importantly parent who understood the value of working with the dogs, came together.
Sometimes it takes several tries to find the perfect fit. But as with Julian and Benny, you just know when the right match is made and nothing is impossible after that.
For more information about Pet Partners, visit www.petpartners.org.