Dottie is a therapy dog that has been specially trained and objectively evaluated to work with her handler, Dr. Karen Ni, OTD, OTR/L, during the provision of occupational therapy services. Dottie is able to facilitate participation in goal-oriented activities directed by her handler. Typical treatment sessions involve petting, brushing, feeding, communicating, training, following, or playing with the dog for all or part of the session. Dottie is also certified as a Demonstration Dog for Paws With a Cause and has been granted public access rights while performing work in this role and when directly supporting a client with a disability. Dottie continues to participate in training and continuing education with her handler at least once a month.
Dottie is current on her vaccinations, monthly preventatives, and is groomed according to the standards and procedures set by the handler and the facility.
Clients will be carefully screened and evaluated for participation in AAT. If the client demonstrates aggressive behavior or Dottie’s safety is put at risk at any point, Dottie will be removed from the situation and the client will be re-evaluated for participation in AAT. The dog will not be left alone with a client during a session. If at any time, Dottie shows signs of stress, discomfort, or fear, she will be allowed to take a break until determined by Dr. Ni that the dog is safe and ready to return to the session. While it may be scheduled for Dottie to participate in a therapy session, the dog’s welfare is a priority and it is ultimately up to her to decide the duration and amount of engagement in each session.
With the help of Dr. Karen Ni, we can provide a new and exciting opportunity for our OT Studios kiddos and create magical experiences with animal assisted therapy!