Therapy Animals of Southern Arizona is an all-volunteer group of Pet Partners Therapy Animal Teams, and those who support the teams, who volunteer in Tucson and the greater Southern Arizona area. We are a Community Partner of the national non-profit Pet Partners® (formerly called Delta Society). After completing training and an intensive evaluation, we take our pets to visit patients in local hospitals, hospices and assisted-living centers. We help children learn to read at libraries and schools, and help people in places where pets traditionally are not allowed such as domestic violence shelters and juvenile detention centers.
Gain a better understanding of how you might be able to volunteer with your pet or help in other ways.
TASA Members, access our Members Only page.
Learn how you can start a therapy animal program where you work.
Find links to articles and stories about how therapy animal visits improve people's health and well-being.
WHAT IS A THERAPY ANIMAL?
A therapy animal is someone’s pet, who along with their handler, have been screened to be appropriate to visit people in places where animals are traditionally not allowed. Therapy animals are taken to hospitals, assisted-living and hospice centers, domestic violence shelters, libraries, schools and many other places.
Never underestimate the power of snuggles! Therapy animal visits can result in lowering patients’ blood-pressure, stress, and anxiety levels. They can help people forget about their pain and bring a sense of normalcy to those in need of a little joy and comfort. They can also inspire children to read or help calm and ease fears before a 'scary' medical procedure. Visits also benefit family members and professional care-givers in addition to the 'patient' or 'client'.
Some teams work alongside professionals such as Physical, Speech and Occupational Therapists doing Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT). Before they interact with patients specific therapeutic goals for each session are identified. This could be encouraging someone recovering from a stroke to walk 3 minutes (its always more fun to walk a dog than just feel the pain in each step of walking as a means of therapy), or it could be helping a patient after a traumatic brain injury learn to speak again by having the patient give a dog commands such as sit, fetch, or bark. Learn more about AAT on the Pet Partners website. Please Note: Therapy Animals are NOT Service Animals. A Service Animal as defined by the American with Disabilities Act is “individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability”. Service Animals are allowed in public places such as restaurants, retail stores, etc. Therapy Animals are NOT entitled to this same privilege. To learn more about Service Animals visit the Handi-Dogs and Pet Partners websites.
Watch the Pet Partners® Video
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