Community College of Rhode Island

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Contact Information

Tel: 401.333.7070

Pet Assisted Therapy (PAT) Program

About the Program

The curriculum is an ethics-based and goal-directed approach to pet assisted therapy. The program is designed to provide an academic foundation for individuals who:

  • appreciate the awesome implications of pets in our lives
  • understand our responsibility to all living things
  • recognize the possibilities that pets can provide such as wellness, friendship, adjunct treatment for medical and emotional conditions, education, stimulation, motivation and character building.

The level of study of this program is appropriate for already-licensed professionals interested in extending their repertoire, for paraprofessionals in need of additional education and for nonprofessionals seeking an opportunity to make a difference.

Students completing the program receive a certificate of completion from CCRI and are eligible to apply for credentialing from the Windwalker Humane Coalition for Professional Pet Assisted Therapy.

Important Note:

Prior to Course II, students are required to have insurance for their pet. Please consult with your insurance agent.

 Pet Assisted Therapy I

Family Therapy Pets – The Ethical Foundation of PAT

This course looks at the bond between humans and companion animals from a historical, theoretical and practical perspective. The course will focus on history, research, ethics, safety and legal issues. Students will learn how to set up safe and effective treatment-based programs in a variety of settings. The link of these between animals and people also will be covered. The format will include visiting credentialed family therapy pets, lectures, discussions, videos, guest speakers and field trips. Temperament testing also will be included. State-of-the-art issues including credentialing and insurance will be covered. It is hoped that, by the end of Course I, each student will have a solid educational background to build on his or her bond of love, trust and understanding with the family pet, so as to be able to create professional pet assisted therapy programs based on the pet's personality and his or her own humanity, background, talents and interests. Students must pass PAT I before going on to PAT II.

$199 + $5 registration fee (textbook included)

50012 PATT-1000-001
Wednesday, 6-8 p.m., 12 meetings, March 7 - May 20, 2015, Warwick

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Pet Assisted Therapy II

Building on the Bond – Hands-On, Paws-On Learning

In this course, the family therapy pet and guardian will work together getting acclimated to the sights, sounds and situations encountered in agencies and schools, including wheelchairs, school bells, elevators and stairs. While most of the sessions take place at Delmyra Kennels, there are also sessions at the Cranston Arc and Elmhurst Extended Care. The class includes training in pet therapy skills, basic obedience and lectures on animal behavior, how to "read" the pet and pet therapy with other animals, which are welcomed in the internship. Teams also will have the opportunity to practice approaching a patient in bed. There will be a mid-term evaluation as well as a final competency.

$199 + $5 registration fee

50013 PATT-2000-850
Saturday, 10a.m.-12p.m., 8 meetings, January 10 - February 28, 2015, Elmhurst Extended Care, Providence

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Pet Assisted Therapy III

Internship: Experiencing the Joy

This professional internship typically spans six months and is divided into two segments. In the first, the typical student will spend one hour per week for 10 weeks at one of our training sites. At our Elmhurst Extended Care site, students will work with their family therapy pets in the program dubbed "Moving Forward with Joy." At the Cranston Arc site, teams will work in the program "Maximum Joy." Both of these sites not only have graduates of this program as full-time staff, but long have welcomed professional pet assisted therapy into their facilities. It is hoped that through working at these sites, students and their pets will not only touch and change lives and motivate patients to the accomplishment of treatment goals, but also will also gain the confidence and experience to move forward.

In the second phase of the internship, students will work directly with Pearl Salotto to create their own program in a site that does not have pet therapy. Following the initial program development, based on the students and their pets' interests and talents, they will then complete one hour per week for 10 weeks. Weekly documentation and a final paper are required at both sites.

$199 + $5 registration fee

50014 PATT-3000-301

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Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

This program is a three course certificate program including Theory (Course I) Experiential Learning (Course II) and Internship (Course III).

This program has been running continually at CCRI since 1996, developed and taught by Pearl Salotto – author, educator and professional pet assisted therapy facilitator.

Pearl was first inspired by her family therapy pet DJ (Dog of Joy) in the mid 80’s in N.Y., and more recently by Maj-En, whose energy and boundless desire to share his love, over the past decade and a half, has touched and “changed” all in his path.

This program welcomes all who wish to share their love for their family pet with those in need of a “loving touch” in an ethically based and goal-oriented program in which the pet, the client and society – all benefit.

This program welcomes individuals from all walks of life, all ages, all professions (or not) – who have a deep and abiding respect for all living things.

This program is looking for individuals who, not only wish to work with their own pet to help others, but who are confident individuals, with good judgment, who are “thinking outside the box” visionaries looking for an opportunity to help make the world a better place.

This program welcomes individuals who cherish their pets, as family, and who have a strong bond of trust and understanding with them.

This program welcomes pets of any species, age, size and description, as long as they are family members of the student and, of course, as long as they eagerly and spontaneously wish to share their love with one and all.

This program also welcomes individuals, who may not have a pet, at the moment but who wish to learn about this profession.

This program welcomes pets, regardless of their energy level, as long as they love people, because one of the goals of the program is to build on whatever personality the pet has-in order that safe and effective programming can take place.

In this program, students will move from a classroom based experience where they will learn ethics, safety, research, legal and insurance issues, as well as how to set up professional programs – to “hands-on/paws-on learning, in which the students’ pet experience sites and sounds of PAT environments (wheel-chairs, school bells, stairs, elevators) to an opportunity to intern with your pet first, generally , with a mentor and finally, in a program of your own creation.

During this program, students will have opportunities for discussion, lectures from credentialed PAT facilitators, videos, field trips, reading and writing assignments, working and learning with your own pet, as well as temperament testing.

In this program, students will be expected to provide Certificate of Good Health, for their pet, as well as proof of insurance (Homeowners is a possibility on professional liability).

At the conclusion of this program students will receive a certificate of completion from CCRI and will be eligible to apply for credentialing for themselves and their family therapy pet from the Windwalker Humane Coalition for Professional Pet Assisted Therapy.

Program Flyer

Pet Assisted Therapy Program Flyer - PDF*

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Last Updated: 10/23/14