Ramat Beit Shemesh 


Therapy Dogs


contact: info @ rbstherapydogs.com

all inquiries are kept confidential


SAFETY



Informed Consent Form
Definition of Terms:

AAT, AAI, AAA

AAT is Psychotherapy, Occupational Therapy, or similar goal oriented therapy directed by licensed social workers with the aid of animals or an animal. The therapist uses AAIs.

AAI is the activity itself, which is called an intervention when it is used to guide the client progressively toward a therapeutic goal.

AAA is an activity which can make up an intervention, but can just be for recreational purposes.


Our Staff:

Our staff includes Animal Assisted Therapy Interventionists who create activities to help clients with specific needs. They are supervised by an advisory board which includes two practicing psychotherapists. Progress is monitored by the entire team. A customized program is developed for every client. Minimum length is 12 weeks. Maximum length is 34 weeks. All plans are subject to revision. For more information on the stages of the program, see. The staff also includes assistants who have a supportive role.


At no time is any practitioner alone with any child. We have a strict open door policy whereby parents and visitors are allowed to come and go freely as long as they do not eavesdrop on private conversations. Children are always either outside and supervised by staff, or inside with any combination of adults, parents, other children.


Confidentiality is kept , but all details can be shared with the entire staff. Occasionally we may need to contact referring physicians for consultation.


The Environment:


RBS Therapy Dogs works on a small 'ranch' which has animals and plants and contains the environments where the animals live. We occasionally do dog related activities in the neighborhood parks and general area. These excursions are always announced.


The animals: There are 3 dogs, 2 cats, 2 hamsters, 10 guinea pigs, 2 quail, 4 gerbils and a rabbit. 


Sanitation:

All of our animals are kept disease free and if one becomes ill it is removed from the environment. Vaccination records are available upon request. Washing of hands is encouraged at the end of each session and the client will be reminded to do so. Clients are not required to clean cages, pick up animal waste.


The Role of Animals:


Our activities include handling and interacting with animals, building and maintaining the 'ranch', planning and performing animal shows quarterly with a group of other clients and volunteers, training animals, etc. depending on the type of program. No client will be forced to perform any activity. If the child or parent wishes to opt out of an activity, simply mention it.


Benefits and Risks:


Because these are real world activities with a sentient being, there is always the risk of something unplanned happening or the animal not performing the way we are expecting. An animal may have a panic reaction to some fear due to an innocuous activity and bite or growl despite the activity being completely normal, for example. They also may become too enthusiastic and accidentally hurt small people by suddenly moving. This is very unlikely and we train our animals to respond appropriately to a variety of situations, but anything is possible. Sometime animals and certain clients do not like each other for unexplained reasons. To minimize this, clients should adhere to policies in the next section. The benefits of this unpredictability however are worth the risks, because all accomplishments are genuine which are against the background of the real world of uncertainty and this is a valuable lesson.


Hammers, nails, drills, staple gun, wood paneling, chicken wire, fertilizers, are some of the typical materials which may be used in activities, and are potentially hazardous. Minor injuries are a possibility, however, every effort is made to minimize injury. We believe that the use of real tools to engaged in meaningful real world activities adds considerable experiential value over simply using toys to do similar activities such as building with blocks. Children and adults should wear appropriate clothing for work with animals.


These activities are designed for the client to bond with the animals in in doing so develop empathy, confidence, problem solving, and planning to provide for them. The accomplishments are real and the animals provide a motivation which is very strong.


The Role of the Client:

Clients will do their best to complete projects and spend lots of quality time with the animals. Aggressive or cruel behavior will be punished according to the theory of natural consequences. If an animal is mistreated, he will react negatively either by avoiding the person, or being aggressive back. Minor bites may occur. This is often the best way to teach a child to avoid negative behavior. It can be very healthy, and not a crisis or traumatic. Nevertheless, the staff will make every effort to proactively forestall any inappropriate behavior toward the animals by immediately separating the child so as to minimize injury to the animal and the child. Repeated behavior of this kind may require the suspension of activity or treatment.


Criteria for Exclusion:

Sometimes, just as with any medicine, procedure or exercize to improve quality of life, AAI just doesn't work or is inappropriate for a specific client. If this is recognized as the case, the staff will discuss with the parents the problem, and schedule a wrap-up session for the child.