Pet Partners Launches Animal-Assisted Crisis Response Program
Handlers who pursue AACR credentials will receive instruction and credentials, aligned with the Pet Partners philosophy, on how to provide support and comfort to those who have been affected by natural, human-caused or technological disasters.
Pet Partners’ AACR handlers must complete training which includes psychological first aid concepts, also referred to as mental health first aid. While AACR does not take the place of professional interventions, the credential program helps handlers provide an additional level of support through listening, empathy and sharing the unconditional love of their therapy animal.
The company has therapy animal teams located throughout the country. Teams with handlers age 18 or older and who have been registered with Pet Partners for at least six months may pursue AACR credentials. In addition to canine teams, Pet Partners also accepts non-canine species for AACR, as these species can also benefit those in need.
“There’s no question that a therapy animal’s presence alone can bring incredible relief to someone in crisis,” said Annie Peters, president and CEO of Pet Partners. “To further connect with these individuals, our AACR volunteer handlers will be able to offer emotional comfort, reduce anxiety, and provide the opportunity for contact and engagement, making the visit even more impactful.”